Last-minute success

With the Sun Dome crowd standing and clapping, senior forward Jessica Dickson calmly sank two free throws with 27.4 seconds remaining to capture the scoring record – for both the men’s and women’s programs – surpassing the previous record of 2,319 points set by Charlie Bradley in 1985.

Dickson’s first free throw broke the record as she raised one finger to the sky and took a deep breath. Her second free throw secured the game and sent the 830 fans into a frenzy as she walked off the Sun Dome floor for the last time.

“I was just praying and saying ‘Lord, help us get this win and break the record because I want it to be over with already,'” Dickson said. “Early on, I was thinking maybe it’s not going to happen tonight, but in the second half I came out more aggressive.”

Dickson scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half, mostly from the free-throw line. After shooting 2-for-11 in the first half, Dickson wasn’t much better in the second half, going 1-for-5. Dickson went 11-for-14 from the free-throw line for the game.

This was a special night for Dickson, who played her final home game on Senior Night. Before the game, USF public address announcer Jason Loughren spent seven minutes telling the crowd of Dickson’s many accomplishments throughout her career.

Dickson, however, spent the first 15 minutes of the game grazing the basket with missed shots. Dickson missed her first seven shots in the first half and didn’t score her first basket until 4:38 in the half.

This wasn’t a usual Dickson performance, but it will always be a memorable night for the player and her family. Dickson was happy to set the record in front of her mom and the home fans rather than in Hartford this weekend at the Big East tournament.

“This is something I can give to her for coming out and supporting me,” Dickson said. “My mom was able to be here for history, and the fans that come to support our team – this is my gift to them.”

Dickson’s mom, Kathy Mack, had a front-row seat to watch her daughter reach a special milestone in her college basketball career. Mack was emotional after the game and struggled to find the words to describe the moment.

“This is very special,” Mack said. “I was so nervous because it looked like it wasn’t going to happen, but in the last hour she pulled it out.”

Women’s basketball senior Jessica Dickson scored 17 points in Monday night’s win over Seton Hall – giving her 2,321 career points, enough to surpass Charlie Bradley by two points to take hold of the all-time scoring record at USF. After the game, Athletic Director Doug Woolard, left, USF President Judy Genshaft and women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez presented Dickson with the game ball in honor of her record-breaking performance.Photo by Sean Reed

Fellow seniors Nalini Miller, Tristen Webb and Rachael Sheats expressed joy in seeing their teammate make history.

“To see how hard she works, you can’t help but be happy for her,” Sheats said. “She deserves everything she has received here this year and in her career here.”

Dickson and Fernandez embraced after the game and thanked each other. Fernandez thanked her for what she’s done for the program and Dickson thanked him for bringing her to USF and allowing her to etch her name in the history books. Coach Jose Fernandez was subdued during his post-game press conference when speaking about Dickson and the record.

“If everyone else would have envisioned what she did here, they would have recruited her,” Fernandez said. “I knew she was going to be a good player … but when you look at the numbers she’s put up, it’s pretty monumental.”