WOMEN'S BASKETBALL | Rodgers Taken 14th in Draft
Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 01:04
While Georgetown basketball fans spent much of Monday following Otto Porter Jr.’s decision to declare for the NBA draft, another Georgetown basketball star was preparing to make her own ascension to the professional ranks.
Senior guard Ta’Shauna “Sugar” Rodgers, one of the most decorated athletes in school history, was selected in the second round, 14th overall by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2013 WNBA draft.
When Rodgers’ name was called, she hugged Georgetown Head Coach Keith Brown and walked to the stage, a dazed smile on her face as she posed for the camera with her new Lynx jersey. Struggling to find the words to describe her emotions, Sugar tried to explain the important role that basketball played in her troubled upbringing.
“It kept me focused,” she said, fighting to keep her composure before adding, “I’m just so happy.”
Last night’s draft in Bristol, Conn., was the first time Rodgers, her brother and her sister had all been in the same place together in over 10 years. Even on Monday, though, Rodgers’ could not be with her during the actual draft due to space constraints, instead watching proudly from the adjacent room reserved for family and friends.
“I’m just excited they could be there,” Rodgers said with a wide smile after walking off the stage. “I’m about to go back and see them.”
Nowadays, anything from minor injuries to bad press falls into the category of adversity, but in Rodger’s case, the challenges she faced were very real — and extremely serious.
According to a Washington Post article that ran in Nov. 2011, Rodgers grew up in a violent, crime-filled neighborhood in Suffolk, Va., where she once had to duck for cover in her own house during a drive-by shooting.
She lost her mother to lupus at age 14 and had little contact with her ailing father. She bounced around relatives’ and friends’ homes and struggled in school, making money hustling people on the basketball courts.
In the midst of these hardships, Rodgers stayed involved in athletics and AAU ball, supported by a few caring mentors who recognized her potential. She knew that her basketball skills could be her ticket out, her ticket to college and maybe, one day, even her ticket to the WNBA.
That day has arrived.
As moving as Rodgers’ success story is, her on-court escapades are equally compelling. With explosive speed and a deft long-range jump shot, Rodgers began racking up the points the moment she stepped on the court as a freshman in 2009. Since first donning the Blue and Gray, she asserted herself as a team leader and lethal scorer, and she never looked back.
It is, in short, impossible to overstate what Rodgers meant for the Georgetown basketball program during her four years as a Hoya.
Though Rodgers’ list of honors is immense — including four first-team all-Big East honors and three Associated Press honorable mention All-American nods — she will above all go down in school history for being Georgetown’s all-time leading scorer, male or female, with 2,518 points.
She is also Georgetown’s all-time steals leader with 326.
Despite all the accolades, Rodgers always strove to improve her game while on the Hilltop, something she will undoubtedly continue to do in the WNBA.
Rodgers’ senior season may have been a disappointment for her team, but she went out with a bang on a personal level nonetheless; in her final game, Rodgers scored 42 points against Villanova in the second round of the Big East tournament to break the conference championship single-game scoring record.
Rodgers is the third player from Georgetown to be drafted by the WNBA, following Rebekkah Brunson, who was drafted in 2004, and Katie Smrcka-Duffy, who was taken in 2001.
With her athleticism and skill, Rodgers has left a legacy that will live on in the record books as well as in our hearts and memories. Though her career here at Georgetown may be over, one thing is certain: We haven’t heard the last of Sugar Rodgers.
Laura Wagner is a sophomore in the College. Her normal column, GAME OF CHANGE, appears every Tuesday.