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A singular athletic talent

BY ANDRES FOCIL
A singular athletic talent

FAYETTEVILLE — Shameka Christon is the most successful Arkansas women’s basketball player in the WNBA. Through her success on the court, Christon has helped raise the profile of the University of Arkansas and set the standard of professional success for Razorback women’s basketball student-athletes to come. Later this spring, Christon will be recognized for her contributions to Arkansas representing the school as the Razorbacks’ “SEC Great” at the 2010 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Duluth, Ga.

The former SEC Player of the Year remains the highest drafted women’s basketball player in Arkansas history when she was taken fifth overall in the first round by the New York Liberty. Playing in 33 of 34 regular-season games as a contributor from the bench, Christon helped the Liberty to a second-place finish in the Eastern Division in 2004 and was selected to the All-Star team in 2009.

Christon’s collegiate career at Arkansas saw the Hot Springs, Ark., native finish second on the Razorbacks’ all-time scoring list (1,951 points) and she was just the 22nd basketball player (female or male) to reach the 1,000-point milestone.

Christon became the Razorbacks’ first female Southeastern Conference Player of the Year as a senior in 2004, an award that followed on the heels of SEC First-Team selection (2003), SEC Second-Team (2002) and selection to the SEC All-Freshman Team (2001). In addition, Christon’s awards included AP All-America Third Team honors as well as SEC All-Tournament team honors (2002).

Christon’s numbers have improved with each season since joining the New York Liberty. A nine-game starter in 2005, Christon became a regular in the starting five in 2006 when she ranked sixth in the WNBA for three-point attempts, seventh in blocks and ninth in three-pointers made.

She bettered her numbers as a 32-game starter in 2007 finishing the season ranked in the WNBA’s Top 20 in eight statistical categories. The 2008 season saw Christon start all games she appeared in to lead the team in scoring with 15.7 ppg. She scored 20-plus points eight times and earned her first career Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor July 7 averaging 24.0 ppg and 3.0 rpg.

Christon’s most recent season saw her best numbers yet. She totaled a career-best 156 rebounds and 514 points (16.1 ppg) as she earned selection to the WNBA All-Star team.

In addition to Christon’s collegiate and WNBA experience, the former Razorback has traveled internationally playing for Hondarribia in Spain prior to the 2008 season. While with Hondarribia, Christon averaged 18.2 ppg and 5.4 rpg. Her other international experience includes Elizur Ramla in Isreal in 2005, Raanana Hertzliva in Isreal in 2006, Rivas Futura in Spain, COPABA 2002 Young Women’s Qualifying team in Brazil and the 2001 FIBA World Junior Championship in Czech Republic.

Shameka Delynn Christon was a social work major at Arkansas. Her favorite film is The Color Purple and she has two dogs, a boxer mix named Achilles and a miniature pinscher named Scrappy.

WNBA CAREER NUMBERS

Year Team G GS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OFF DEF REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
2004 NYL 33 4 560 67-189 24-82 33-51 19 49 68 23 9 9 32 71 191
2005 NYL 34 9 809 111-270 24-89 65-76 25 67 92 41 33 19 50 100 311
2006 NYL 34 34 987 136-348 52-156 99-120 28 92 120 44 20 42 82 105 423
2007 NYL 33 32 1,065 118-328 39-119 93-117 34 115 149 70 34 19 82 99 368
2008 NYL 31 31 947 153-385 71-175 111-134 31 63 94 51 35 17 61 93 488
2009 NYL 32 31 1,014 154-383 78-204 128-148 29 127 156 56 28 27 56 102 514
Career 197 141 5,381 739-1,903 288-825 529-646 166 513 679 285 159 133 363 570 2,295
All-Star 1 0 22 4-11 3-7 1-2 0 3 3 4 3 1 4 0 12

ARKANSAS CAREER STATS

YEAR GP-GS FG-FGA PCT. 3P-3PA PCT. FT-FTA PCT. REB AVG PF/D A TO BLK ST PTS AVG
00-01 32/24 117/289 .405 37/113 .327 56/72 .778 132 4.1 90/2 20 64 29 47 327 10.2
01-02 31/29 197/418 .471 31/104 .298 92/133 .692 193 6.2 74/0 25 60 52 61 517 16.7
02-03 32/32 193/434 .445 29/81 .358 81/117 .692 194 6.1 88/3 47 101 35 50 496 15.5
03-04 28/28 219/500 .438 47/129 .364 126/166 .759 195 7.0 81/3 49 91 46 48 611 21.8
TOTAL 123/113 726/1641 .442 144/427 .337 335/488 .687 714 5.8 333/8 141 316 162 206 1951 15.9


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