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TDixon05WNBA 

Tamecka Dixon

Sport: Basketball

Born: December 14, 1975

Town: Linden, New Jersey

Tamecka Michelle Dixon was born December 12, 1975 in Linden. She came by her basketball skills through her father, Boo Bowers, a college star who played pro ball in Europe. Tamecka was honored as an All-American her senior season for the Tigers. She decided to pursue her college career out of state, accepting a scholarship from Kansas.

Under longtime coach Marian Washington, Tamecka’s game flourished. The 5–9 shooting guard averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game during her four years with the Lady Jayhawks. In 1996, she led Kansas to a first place finish in the Big 8. In 1997, Kansas was crowned Big 12 champion and Tamecka was the conference’s Player of the Year and an All-American.

Tamecka’s timing couldn’t have been better. Shortly after graduation, the WNBA began its first season. She was selected in the second round of the college draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. She found herself on the same pro team as women’s hoops legends Lisa Leslie, Daedra Charles and Penny Toler, Stanford grad Jamila Wideman and Chinese star Zheng Haixia. As a WNBA rookie, Tamecka ranked in the Top 10 in field goal percentage, three-point percentage and steals. Known for her outside scoring, Tamecka was also a lockdown defender in her prime.

The Sparks were favored to win the championship, but it was the Houston Comets who built the WNBA’s first dynasty. LA got its turn in 2001 and 2002. In 2001, the Sparks finished first in the West with a 28–4 record. They beat the Charlotte Sting and Sacrmaento Monarchs in the playoffs, and then swept the Comets. Tamecka was the team’s second-leading scorer and was a Second-Team All-Star selection. When the final buzzer sounded on their victory, Tamecka could not contain her emotions.

The Sparks finished first again in 2002, and did not lose a single postseason game on their way to a second straight championship.

Tamecka played in the WNBA All-Star Game each year from 2001 to 2003. By the time she hit 30, however, she was settling into role player status. After nine years in LA, she went to the Comets as a free agent for three seasons. She finished her career with the Indiana Fever in 2009. It was a veteran team that scrambled to a first-place finish in the East and reached the WNBA Finals. She was part of one of the greatest games in league history when the Phoenix Mercury downed the Fever 120-116 in Game 1. The Fever came back to win the next two games but couldn’t seal the deal. The Mercury beat them 3 games to 2.

When Tamecka retired, she was one of only four players left from the WNBA’s inaugural season. Before she embarked on a basketball career, she thought she might go into veterinary medicine. But the fondness for numbers she developed as a pro athlete has led her into a second career in finance. She and her father and trainer went into business training young athletes.

 

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