TERRE HAUTE —
Alisa Dickerson had two distinct goals in mind when she was deciding where to play women’s college basketball.
First, she wanted to attend a college with great academics. Second, she wanted to make an impact on the court. In that order.
For the Elizabethtown, Ky., native, Rose-Hulman fit the bill on both counts.
“School-wise, going to Rose was the biggest thing for me … I absolutely love it,” Dickerson said. “I like playing for coach [Jon] Prevo. I’ll hate to walk away at the end of the year.”
Dickerson, now a senior, is already ranked in the top 10 in all meaningful career statistical categories for the Engineers — be it points, scoring average, field goals, 3-pointers, free throws, rebounds, assists and blocked shots.
Did I say durable? A starter from day one, she will be making her 78th consecutive start for the Engineers in tonight’s annual matchup vs. St. Mary-of-the-Woods at Hulbert Arena.
“I’ve been fortunate since my freshman year to be an impact player,” Dickerson stated. “Being a starter is something I’ve worked hard to maintain.”
One reason she sits high in all those career stat charts is an ability to play any position, any role necessary, at any time — running the gamut from center to point guard and everything in between.
“Versatility is important,” Dickerson noted. “Gives us a different dimension.”
A 5-foot-11 post player in high school, Dickerson has become a very skilled point guard when called upon.
“It’s not a role I expected to play,” Dickerson said. “It was a role I was thrown into my freshman year. But I’ve come to like it. That versatility can counteract what opponents throw at us.”
Naturally, coach Prevo would like to have five of her on the floor, quipping, “Probably our best all-around passer … it’s too bad she can’t pass [the basketball] to herself.”
Her single-game career bests are impressive — points (29), rebounds (14), assists (9), steals (4), blocks (7), field goals (10), 3-point goals (3), free throws (13) and minutes (43).
When asked what her individual career highlights stand out, Dickerson is reticent to say this or that game was her best. She prefers discussing the team’s accomplishments.
“For me, consistency is most important and as a team, just trying to get the job done,” Dickerson mentioned. “We’ve always been a tight group of girls. The reason I’m in basketball is the team atmosphere.”
Winning is nice too.
Rose-Hulman only won a combined 12 games in Dickerson’s freshman and sophomore years. As a junior last season, Rose improved to 10 victories and qualified for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
This season, the Engineers are a very young team and have lost their first two games. Dickerson is the only senior, and their only junior is currently injured.
“I stepped into a leadership role last season and this season is another extension of that,” Dickerson said. “The hardest part for the younger girls is adapting to the college game, so it’s important for me to be a leader on the court. If we can keep learning, we’ll get better as the season is going on.”
Asked what she feels is the toughest adjustment for her adapting from high school to college play, she stated, “Shot clock. You have to learn to keep that in your head at all times. You can’t take time off because you’re playing at a forced pace.”
Dickerson has also enjoyed the travel opportunites afforded by her basketball experience at Rose. She listed playing in Phoenix, Birmingham (Ala.) and Brazil — not the nearby city just a few miles east of campus, but the country in South America.
In the summer of 2010, Dickerson and Terre Haute native Molly Martin played for the Division III USA Team in a series of games in Brazil. Prevo was the team’s coach, while Martin — playing for Hanover at the time — is now an assistant coach at Rose.
“We played a different style of game, a lot more physical,” Dickerson observed. “Once we got to know each other, we adjusted to the style of play. Kind of melded right to it.”
As for tonight’s matchup with SMWC, Dickerson is looking forward to the game, but is also keeping her focus on longer-range team goals.
“It’s a big game in the sense it’s an in-town rivalry,” Dickerson said. “A pride game is how I look at it, and it’s nice to play in front of a large crowd. Our main goal is to beat [HCAC] opponents and make the tournament. But we still want to win this game.”
Dickerson, a mechanical engineering major, is already set to to start her work career at General Electric in Louisville, Ky., after the school year. While at GE, she also plans to earn a master’s degree through a program at Georgia Tech.
“Of all the different players I’ve interacted with, both on the court and off, in all my years in coaching, she ranks up there with the best of them,” Prevo concluded.
“She’s a good player, a good leader and a great student … about a 3.8 [GPA]. If she has the tyoe of year she’s been having, she should be a lock to be an Academic All-American.”
• Rose-Hulman vs. SMWC — Tonight’s Clabber Girl Trophy tip-off game is slated for 7:30 p.m. The Woods are seeking a third consecutive victory in the series. Rose is 0-2, while SMWC comes in 2-2.
SMWC is led in scoring by Brittany Shaner at 29.8 ppg, having scored 40 and 38 points in games this season. Whitney Allen and Chelsey Barron are both averaging 13.8 ppg, both with high outputs of 25 points.
The Pomeroys are averaging 78.3 ppg, with wins over Brescia and Judson and losses to Indiana Tech and HCAC member Franklin.
Rose is led statistically by, who else, Dickerson averaging 16 ppg and eight rpg. Other contributors are Sherree Williams (8 ppg), Grace Gibbs (6 rpg) and Emily Fuhs (5 rpg.)
The Engineers have averaged just 44.5 ppg in their losses to Marian and Centre. This is their first home game of the season.
Alisa Dickerson by the numbers
Year PPG RPG
Freshman 10.3 6.6
Sophomore 12.8 7.5
Junior 13.5 7.8
Senior 16.0 8.0
ppg - points per game
rpg - rebounds per game