Jackie Stiles Passing Her Legacy onto Future Lady Bears

By Brett Martin | bmartin@kolr10.com

Published 04/24 2014 06:17AM

Updated 04/24 2014 07:47AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Jackie Stiles spent four years making memories at Missouri State University. Now, she's helping Bears' athletes do the same. However, instead of running up and down the court, she's running up and down the sideline.

3,393 points is the total number that shot Jackie Stiles into the record books.

Before that, Stiles was a highly recruited star at Claflin High School in a small Kansas town.

"My final three were Missouri State, UConn and Kansas State," said Stiles.

All along, she  says she knew Missouri State was the place for her.

"I just knew in my heart, at the time it was Southwest Missouri State, that was where I wanted to go and it was the best decision of my life."

The NCAA all-time leading scorer helped lead the Bears to the Final Four in 2001 in St. Louis.

"Nobody thought that we could do that and beating Duke, the number one seed, it was such a memorable run."

She spent two years in the WNBA with the Portland Fire and the Los Angeles Sparks before moving to Australia to play for the country’s national team. Stiles retired and came back to the Ozarks.

"I've lived in Australia, I've lived in LA, I've lived in Texas, you name it, I've been all over but something brings me back here," explained Stiles.

Now, Stiles is an assistant coach and active recruiter for the Lady Bears.

She says the decision to move from the City of Angels to the Ozarks was simple.

"This community, the way they supported us, I'll never forget the wonderful memories they gave me and then to get this opportunity to coaching at the school that I believe is the best school in the country for women's basketball is a dream come true."

Stiles says she enjoys being able to teach her experiences to future athletes on campus.

"I fill really fulfilled when I can help other athletes become the best they can be, I want them to experience what i did, i mean it was so special."

Even though she may have a statue outside of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, she says when she walks on the hardwood she once ran, its still something special.

"I get chills just sitting in this arena where I once played because thinking back to just standing room only and the fans going nuts every time we took the floor."

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