Iowa sophomore Melissa Dixon, a 5-foot-8 guard from Johnsburg, was named Monday as the Big Ten Conference Sixth Player of the Year in women’s basketball.
The honor came a few days after Dixon twice led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 22 and 21 points in wins against Indiana and Northwestern. Dixon is averaging 10.3 points a game for the season and is hitting 40.1 percent of her 3-point shots.
The Big Ten coaches voted on the Sixth Player award. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said after Sunday’s 62-45 victory at Northwestern that she felt Dixon was a lock.
“I don’t know how you could say anybody else contributes more for their team as sixth person than Melissa Dixon,” Bluder said. “ She comes in, she’s an unbelievable 3-point threat, she has one of the quickest shot releases of anybody in the Big Ten, and she plays great defense, so it’s not like she’s a one-dimensional player. She really does all things.”
Dixon started three games at the beginning of the season, but when senior guard Jaime Printy returned from a torn left ACL she suffered as a junior, Dixon became the first player off the bench.
Dixon said she did not care if she was in the starting lineup.
“I still get a lot of minutes,” said Dixon, who averages 22 minutes a game. “I’m happy to be out on the court playing. I’m just thankful for every minute I get.”
Iowa (19-11) hopes to more wins to its résumé in the Big Ten Tournamnent this week at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates. The Hawkeyes were seventh in the Big Ten and feel like they have a solid chance for an NCAA Tournament bid.