Melissa Dixon has found herself in a shooter’s paradise of late. On Thursday, the Iowa junior guard and Johnsburg alum scored 27 points – all in the second half – sparking Iowa’s win over No. 22 Syracuse. Dixon, who was the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year recipient last year, hit a school record seven 3-point field goals for the second time in a year when she has already been named the Most Valuable Player of the Cancun Challenge after a 32-point performance against North Carolina-Wilmington. Dixon now leads the Hawkeyes in scoring, averaging 15.2 points per game.
I think you kind of go unconscious a little bit (when you’re in a rhythm as a shooter). You just know that the next (shot) is going to go in. It’s just a really good feeling. (Against Syracuse) my teammates did a really good job and we just moved the ball around – either inside or out – and was able to get me the ball when I was open on the wing for a shot. It’s just a huge adrenaline rush. I’m pretty confident wherever I am (on the floor) if I’m open that I will be able to hit a shot. Our team does such a great job rotating the ball around, so my shots can come from wherever. You just have to be ready wherever you happen to be.
My family and my friends from home have always been very supportive. When we play on TV like we did (against Syracuse), people from home in Johnsburg can watch me play and so it’s really fun. I’m really blessed to come from a place like that. It’s incredible. That’s one of the best things about coming from a small town is that everyone supports one another and ever since I’ve been (at Iowa), the support has just continued.
I think I’ve tried to go into it with the same mentality (as a starter). I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team win. I think I just needed to be ready right when the game started. Last year, I was on the bench first and so I could kind of see how the game was going. This year, you have to go in ready right away. But you go in with the same mentality – being competitive out there and being willing to do whatever you can to help the team win. (Being a starter) has made me a little more aggressive. I play the best when I just let the game come to me and we play the best as a team when we just let our offense work and we look for the best shot. So we just stick to what we know best.
You can only take care of what you can control. I just went in everyday (before this season) working as hard as I can and just letting things happen and letting things fall into place. I’’ve just been trying to develop my overall game. I’ve always been known as a shooter, but I’ve just tried to get back to taking it off the dribble and getting to the rim a little better and finishing a little better.
I think I get denied (defensively) a little more now. But the great thing about our team is that we have so many threats that if I’m taken out a little bit, Sam (Logic) can go off or Bethany (Doolittle) can have a great game. There’s so many threats on our team that you can’t just guard one. If (defenses) want to stay up close on me and focus on me, that can open someone else up and so that’s going to work well for our team either way.
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