Of the 32 retired jerseys in Allen Fieldhouse, only three numbers were worn by members of the women's basketball team.
One of those exclusive and influential female athletes is Tamecka Dixon, a woman who not only helped propel Kansas to a surplus of success during her playing days, but is also a universal trailblazer for women with professional basketball aspirations.
After Kansas retired her jersey in 2003, Dixon reflected on the feat.
“It just goes to show that I’ve dedicated four years of my life to this university and to these people,” Dixon said when her jersey was retired. “It’s great to come back and feel the vibe of Kansas basketball again.”
Although her basketball resume is impressive in its entirety, it’s important to first note her collegiate basketball career at Kansas.
As a freshman, Dixon came off the bench and averaged just 6.8 points per game. However, as her college career progressed, her performance promptly improved. In Dixon’s sophomore year, she averaged 11.6 points and four rebounds per game, a noticeable increase of production from her previous season.
Dixon continued to display sizable improvement in her junior year, as she averaged 17 points, four rebounds and three assists.
In that same season, Kansas went on to win the Big Eight championship, with Dixon being named the 1996 Big Eight Player of the Year. As if that wasn’t enough, Dixon also ended up leading Kansas to the Sweet Sixteen, where it would fall to the 1996 national champion, Tennessee.
Nevertheless, it was Dixon’s senior year at Kansas that defined her lasting legacy at the University. She would go onto average 20.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
One of 32 Jayhawks with a jersey retired in Allen Fieldhouse, Angela Aycock garnered many awards, including three All-Big Eight selections. The All-American standout played under Marian Washington from 1991-95.
A slew of awards would follow her standout season, including being named the 1997 Big 12 Player of the Year, a 1997 USBWA and Kodak All-American, a member of the 1997 Associated Press All-American second team and a member of the 1997 Big 12 All-Tournament Team. Her 1,689 career points ranks her as Kansas’ eighth all-time leading scorer.
Dixon’s college play from 1994-97 didn’t just capture awards, but also the opportunity to extend her basketball career as a professional.
With the WNBA forming in 1997, Dixon’s graduation from Kansas took place at an opportune moment. In the first-ever WNBA draft, Dixon was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks with the No. 14 overall pick. Her impact was immediate, as she averaged 11.9 points, three rebounds and two assists per game in her rookie campaign.
Dixon’s second season in the WNBA was arguably her best individual showing, posting 16.2 points and just over two rebounds and assists per game.
Dixon went onto be named a three-time consecutive All-Star in 2001, 2002 and 2003, while also being a substantial contributor to Los Angeles’ back-to-back WNBA championships in 2001 and 2002.
As her playing days winded down, Dixon concluded her professional career with 3,500 points, 961 assists and 1,032 rebounds.
At Kansas’ 2016 Late Night, Dixon made a surprise appearance on the floor where she had once accomplished so much, years ago. Even though she now resides in New Jersey as a financial advisor, according to the WNBA, Dixon's passion for the game and her alma mater has never altered.
“This is the best place to play in the world,” Dixon said at the event.
While her illustrious career may be over, Dixon’s extraordinary contributions and brilliant play, will forever be memorialized inside the cathedral of basketball.
— Edited by Frank Weirich