As her time in college comes to a close, Sheila Dixon ’13, co-captain of the women’s basketball team, can look back on an impressive career characterized by dedication and accomplishment. An integral player for the women’s basketball team since her freshman year, Dixon led the team in scoring as a sophomore and junior. She earned the team’s award for Most Valuable Player during her sophomore season and was selected as the Cox Sports Division I Rhode Island Women’s Player of the Year in her junior season. Dixon was selected to the All-Ivy Second Team both years.
Last Saturday she led her team to victory against Dartmouth, breaking an eight-game losing streak, and surpassing 1,000 career points. For her excellence at Brown, The Herald has selected Dixon as Athlete of the Week.
The Herald: When did you start playing basketball?
Dixon: Fourth grade — it’s a funny story. My principal — who’s now one of my very close mentors — saw me playing football and basketball at recess. I told him ‘I want to play in the NFL, I want to be the first woman to play in the NFL.’ He was like ‘Yeah, that’s not going to happen, you’re not going to do it.’ But he was like, ‘You could play basketball.’ He got me sent up to Sienna College’s basketball camps on a full scholarship. I went there fourth grade to ninth grade, and he continued to get me scholarships freshman (through) senior year of high school. It was through Fast Break Fund, a program for lower-income families.
Are you still in contact with your principal from elementary school?
Yeah, he’s actually coming to this weekend’s game — he comes to so many games. I look to him for a lot of guidance in a lot of different areas, and he’s always been there since fourth grade.
You have 13 brothers and sisters. Are sports a part of your relationship with them?
Yeah, it always has. I was adopted — 11 of us were adopted. My mom had kids of her own. So it’s a big family. I’m the youngest (and) my sister just turned 50. My siblings that were closest in age to me — we grew up playing in the back yard, all different kinds of sports. We had makeshift basketball courts and a big enough yard that we could play football.
What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned during your career at Brown? And being the leader of a team?
That success takes a lot of hard work, especially in a program where … we had some struggles. You can work together with a lot of different people, different dynamics, different personalities — you can accomplish a lot and we have accomplished a lot. We’re a very visible sport, so reputation and representation is huge — I think I’ve learned that as well.
In your last game you hit the milestone of 1,000 career points, and the last woman on the Bears basketball team to have done that was seven years ago. How does it feel to be part of that legacy?
It is a great feeling. It’s just remarkable to know that all the hard work I’ve done for the last four years has shown through. I’ve had such a supportive and great team. For me, it came at a really good time after being in a really hard losing streak that was hard to deal with emotionally and physically.
Do you plan on continuing playing basketball following graduation?
Yeah, my coaches and some other people that I’ve spoken to have told me that I have the potential to play overseas. My dream would be to play in France — they have so many great leagues over there. But there are so many great leagues around the world, and it’s just something that I think while I’m capable and able that I should (try).
What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of transitioning from college to professional ball?
It’s kind of like starting over the recruitment process again. I’ve been here four years, and I’m one of the seniors on the team. And now you’re starting fresh. Brown has definitely taught me how to network, to navigate and to find my way — so that’s going to be a challenge, but I’m definitely ready for it.