Loyola women’s basketball senior Taleah Dixon recently chatted with PressBox about how she became interested in playing basketball, why she chose to come to Loyola and more. The 5-foot-10 Dixon averaged 8.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last year.

PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Taleah Dixon: I was 5 years old and my sister at the time was 9. We’re four years apart and we’re best friends. She told my dad that she wanted to play basketball, so of course I wanted to be like my big sister and I wanted to play basketball just like her. My dad took her to the gym. I would just be in the gym with them. I just picked up a basketball and started shooting and dribbling. … She wanted to play, so I wanted to play.

PB: What are your favorite memories from playing at McDonogh?
TD: Definitely my freshman year [IAAM A Conference] championship. We played Roland Park Country School. We were down by three, and there were only a few seconds left. We basically had a Hail Mary. We threw the ball down the court. We had one more possession left. I threw the ball into one of our teammates, Kolbi Green, who is actually at Navy. She got fouled on a 3-pointer. She had to make all three free throws to go to overtime, and she made them all and we won in overtime. That was definitely the most memorable moment that I have at McDonogh basketball-wise — just a crazy game, the whole stands were packed and we were able to pull out the championship.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Loyola?
TD: I have been around Loyola all my life. I’ve played AAU games there. Originally, Joseph Logan, our old head coach, I had known him for a really long time, too, so when he recruited me I just knew it would be like home — my home away from home even though I am home. It just felt right. When I came on campus, met the team and stuff, I had a few other visits set, but I told my parents, “I think I just want to commit here. This is where I want to be.”

PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Loyola?
TD: Probably when we beat Bucknell. It was our kids’ game. There were a bunch of kids there screaming. The crowd was loud. It was my sophomore year [in 2019-20]. I did not play, but being on the bench, being part of that energy and being on that team. [Bucknell was] the No. 1 team in our conference. They hadn’t lost a game, I don’t think, in a long time. We were the only ones who had beaten them in-conference [since the previous season.] Cutting their win streak in-conference was amazing, and it was at home.

PB: What’s your favorite thing about Loyola and Baltimore?
TD: With Loyola, probably the athlete environment. All the athletes pretty much know each other. We’re like a big family. … We go to each other’s games, especially being in Reitz Arena — women’s basketball, men’s basketball and volleyball, we go to each other’s games all the time, especially when we can, so just that family atmosphere. And Baltimore, it’s a big city but it’s small. Everyone knows each other. … We’re supportive. We want to see each other be successful, especially [with] the nitty-gritty in Baltimore and all the violence that comes out of here. Being able to come out of it and not be a part of that and be successful in another place feels good.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
TD: Laryn [Edwards] is my best friend on the team. Me and Laryn freshman year, we weren’t the best of friends. We came in together and we didn’t really talk freshman year. She was sick. She had a concussion, so she wasn’t really around. Sophomore year, we got on the phone one day and ever since then we clicked and became best friends. We just talk about that all the time. We just weren’t friends at first. We didn’t talk to each other. And now we’re inseparable. … That’s my girl, my ride or die. We haven’t played together yet. Freshman year, she was hurt. She didn’t play and I played. And then sophomore year, I was hurt and she played. And then the COVID year, that was just a toss-up. So this year, we’re looking forward to playing with each other for our senior year.

PB: Who is a player you looked up to early in your college career?
TD: I’d have to say either Te’a Cooper or Kysre Gondrezick, [both WNBA players]. Really from the last few years, Kysre Gondrezick. She went to West Virginia University. I just really like her game. She is a scorer. She likes to play downhill, and she works on her pull-up and her three-ball. She’s kind of like a social media influencer as well. I like to get my hair done, I like to get my nails done, I like to get my eyelashes done. … But she can also ball on the court. That’s the kind of person I like to look up to in a sense. Seeing her game as well is something that I really looked up to.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
TD: Enjoy the ride. It’s a long ride, but it goes by quick, so just enjoy it. Take in every moment. Work as hard as you can because it can be taken away from you at any moment. I’ve had injuries along the way. You’re going to get injured, but don’t let that stop you. Don’t let it take away the love for the game. All the losses, it’s going to happen, but don’t let that take away how you truly feel. Always go back to your happiest moments because that’s where you want to be and that’s how you’ll be successful in the long run.

PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
TD: I am majoring in journalism and I’m minoring in writing, so I want to be a sports broadcaster or a reporter. But I definitely want to stay in sports, so broadcasting is something that I really want to do.

Photo Credit: Larry French

Issue 271: October/November 2021

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10