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Dixon shines in exhibition match

BY JACOB SHEYKO | NOVEMBER 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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Last season, Iowa women’s basketball fans got used to the sight of Melissa Dixon draining a 3. It was only fitting that the Hawkeye season this year started with that same sight.

Coming off a screen on an inbound pass, Dixon lined up her shot from well beyond the arc and sank it like she had so many times last season. Next possession, she did it again. This time from an equivalent spot on the opposite side of the court.

In 33 seconds, Dixon had 6 points.

This season, the Hawkeyes face a lot of questions. But if Dixon’s performance in Iowa’s 92-68 win over Concordia-St. Paul is any indication of her play, one thing the Hawkeyes can rely on is Dixon’s 3-point shooting.

“We want to have kind of a dual threat with Theairra and Melissa,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “We have that, and I think we find her good on offensive rebounds as well and getting the ball back out to her.”

Last season, Dixon led the Hawkeyes in 3-point shooting. She connected on 39.8 percent of the 3s she launched — 20th in the nation. During the Big Ten portion of the schedule, Dixon found another gear, connecting on 43 percent of her 3-point attempts.

It appears as if this season will be much of the same. The junior guard finished the game on Sunday with 18 points total — 12 of them came on 3s.

While the Johnsburg, Ill., native only attempted 8 shots in her 26 minutes of play on Sunday, Dixon displayed an efficient scoring arsenal, making 6 of those 8 attempts.

Even when she wasn’t scoring, Dixon’s effect on the game could be felt by her teammates. Just the presence of Dixon around the 3-point arc opened up driving lanes for her teammates.

“It’s unbelievable. If you watch it again, after she hits those two 3s, instead of helping on drives, they’re not going to help anymore,” junior Sam Logic said. “They’re not going to give her an open 3.”

The way Dixon got her shots off came with great variation. She spotted up behind the arc, took defenders off the dribble — something she worked on over the summer, and even drained two 3s on inbound plays.

“We’ve worked a lot in practice with our out-of-bounds plays,” Dixon said. “Really executing and setting good screens, and today I thought that we set good screens, but we also waited for our screens.”

As always, Dixon was quick to credit her teammates. Whether it be for setting a good screen or something as simple as passing her the ball.

“My teammates did a really great job,” Dixon said. “When they were driving, the defense collapsed on them, so I was really open. Overall, we all did a really great job offensively.”

The Hawkeyes will play a lot of four-guard lineups this season, making spacing all the more important. Combine this, with the number of Hawkeyes who can drive and finish in the lane, expect Dixon’s dominance from deep to play a huge role in the Hawkeyes’ success this season.

“You have to [know where she is]. When she hit the two 3s in 33 seconds, you’re going to wake some people up,” junior Sam Logic said. “Getting her going is really important for us. Just to remind teams that they need to be reminded that she’s on our team.”


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