All tournament local fans have given Jackson an ovation when coming on or off the court and her final appearance with five minutes to play may have been the loudest of the competition.
The Opals kept isolating Jackson in the post and the tiring Canadians didn’t have an answer until Opals coach Sandy Brondello gave Jackson a curtain call with two minutes to play.
Post game the Opals briefly and awkwardly hoisted Jackson onto their shoulders but the departing legend was more interested in trying to find her two kids and family in the crowd and wave to them.
Canada star Kia Nurse threatened to shoot her team to victory in the first half with 19 points but was well-held after half-time as Jackson took over the contest.
Earlier in the day, Jackson confirmed it would be her last Opals game with a social media post calling this tournament the most incredible experience of her career.
The 41-year-old has made a stunning comeback this year, rising through the NBL1 competition with her hometown Albury-Wodonga Bandits to regain a place on the Australian roster where she has made an impact on and off the court.
Jackson has already signed with Southside Flyers for what is expected to be her farewell WNBL season starting in November.
On Friday, World Cup officials told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that Jackson had had a significant impact on the ticket sales and visibility of the tournament which has seen bumper crowds for Opals and China games, including 11,916 fans at their semi-final on Friday night which China won 61-59.
“It just dawned on me that his will be my last game ever in the green and gold and how lucky I am to have had this opportunity to represent Australia and also say goodbye,” Jackson wrote.
“I didn’t get that chance all those years ago. I’m so proud of our Opals girls and regardless of the result this has been the most incredible journey of my basketball life.”
Jackson wasn’t able to play a farewell game after injuries forced her to retire ahead of the Rio Olympics and this has made her comeback even more poignant as she has been able to take in the moments at this World Cup.
The Opals also received some good news overnight with FIBA announcing Australian great Robyn Maher would be inducted into its hall of fame in November.
Maher played 372 times for the Opals between 1978 and 1999 including serving as captain of the team in 174 games.
Maher joins husband Tom who was inducted in 2021, and they are believed to be the first husband and wife duo in the hall of fame.
Andrew Gaze, Lindsay Gaze, Michele Timms and Jan Stirling are the other Australians in the FIBA hall of fame.
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