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Dixon impresses during summer months

BY JACOB SHEYKO | AUGUST 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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Melissa Dixon torched teams coming off the bench last season. This was evident in Game Time League play, and it appears as if that will stay constant this upcoming season.

The only difference may be that Dixon will do it from the opening tip.

Dixon was named the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year last year, and she led the Hawkeyes in scoring during conference play with 12.3 points per game.

The Johnsburg, Ill., native is known as a sharpshooter from 3-point range, and it showed during last season for the Black and Gold. Dixon led the team in 3-point percentage by sinking 39.8 percent of her treys.

But Dixon’s role may change from bench player to go-to scorer for the Hawkeyes as they prepare for the upcoming season. If Dixon’s play during summer league is any indication of how she will adjust, Hawkeye fans need not worry.

“I kind of go with the same mind set; I’m willing to do whatever I can to help,” Dixon said. “I’m just thankful to be on the court.”

The main change for Dixon as she moves from sixth woman to starter will likely be the volume of shots she puts up — something you won’t hear Dixon complaining about.

“It’s always fun as a shooter to shoot more,” she said.

She took to the Game Time League to showcase her skills this summer. She led her team to an undefeated regular season and was named league Co-MVP. Dixon also led the league in scoring at 33 points per contest.

Last year, Dixon got most of her scoring from 3-point range — approximately two-thirds of her shots came from deep.

During Game Time, Dixon showed a more balanced approach. She took more 2-point shots than 3s, which can be attributed to her improved game off the dribble.

“When she adds that to her game, it’s going to make [Iowa] so good,” Hawkeye guard Sam Logic said.
This doesn’t mean Dixon is not still lethal from behind the arc. She shot 46 percent from deep during the summer and did so while hoisting up more 3-point attempts than anyone else in Game Time.

But Dixon’s coach and Game Time Commissioner Randy Larson said what makes Dixon special isn’t just her talent but her willingness to improve as a player whenever she steps on the floor.

Larson didn’t bring up Dixon’s consistently scoring 30 points on a nightly basis when he talked about her. Rather, he spoke about a moment of coaching between the two that happened during a blowout win.

“She went underneath a screen with five minutes left in the game,” Larson said. “And I said, ‘You can’t go under a screen,’ and instead of looking at me like, ‘We’re up 30,’ she just goes, ‘I understand.’
“She just wants to be better.”

This comes as no surprise, considering that Dixon was named the hardest worker on the Iowa women’s basketball team last season. But moments such as these make people such as Larson wonder how good Dixon can get with two years remaining at Iowa.

“She’s pretty special,” he said. “Both in the unselfishness and the character type things. But what a talent.”


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