Veteran Dixon brings championship experience to Fever

By Amber Harding | June 11, 2009
The Indiana Fever, as a team, has never won a WNBA Championship, but that doesnt mean that all of its players are new to the spotlight.

Tamecka Dixon, signed by the Fever as a free agent on May 4, 2009, competed in three consecutive WNBA Finals with the Los Angeles Sparks, and her team won the title in 2001 and 2002. Dixon, along with Tully Bevilaqua and Yolanda Griffith, is one of only three current Fever players to boast a WNBA Championship ring. With this playoff experience, Dixon believes she can help to jump start the Fever this season.

Ive been there, and I was an intricate part of the championships we won in L.A., she said. I know what it takes to win, and I try to practice that way and show all the girls that this is the level of intensity and effort that you have to have every night to compete for a championship.

Spending nine years with the Sparks, Dixon has been in good company. In L.A., she played alongside three-time WNBA MVP and seven-time WNBA All-Star Lisa Leslie.

Ive been fortunate, Dixon said. I was drafted by L.A. in 97 and immediately was taken under her wing. She made sure that things were easy for me as a rookie, and I really credit her with a lot of my success in this league.

As one of four active players remaining from the WNBAs inaugural season, Dixon sees herself as a leader for the younger players on the Fever squad. Because shes not a talkative person, however, she tries to lead by example.

I feel like Ive done a lot in this league, Dixon said. And any time that I can give something to the rookies and to the young players, I try to do that. I try to offer them advice.

Entering her 12th year in the league, the three-time All-Star has experienced the highs and lows of each season. She knows what it will take for Indiana to bounce back from its 0-2 start.

Well be fine, she said. I think people are panicking, but its early. There are still some good things we can take from both efforts. Hopefully we hit our slump early, and its nothing but up from here.

Indiana emerged from its slump on Tuesday, June 9, when it captured a 73-66 victory over the Seattle Storm. Dixon believes that this Fever team has extraordinary talent but they still need to build on the little things.

I think we have all the pieces to contend for a championship, Dixon said. But I think one thing we need to continue to work on is our chemistry. Its a little off right now, and its early. So well develop that over the next month or so.

The team will put its chemistry to the test when the Fever takes on Leslie and the Sparks at Conseco Fieldhouse this Friday (7:00 p.m.). The Sparks have been cited by most prognosticators to win the championship this year. Dixon says that her emotions always run high when playing against her former team.

Its always tough for me, she said. But Im excited about it. Its a new chapter for me here in Indiana, and its going to be fun playing against a lot of the players that I played with in L.A. and in Houston.

Despite its bumpy start, the Indiana Fever has a long and promising season ahead. The squad gave its fans something to cheer about on Tuesday, and the players aim to carry this intensity into Fridays game against the Sparks. Veteran Tamecka Dixon has high hopes for her team, and she believes that the Fever will find success as long as we bring the energy and the effort.