Dickson heads to Sacramento

The Monarchs choose Jessica Dickson in the second round as the No. 21 pick in the WNBA Draft on Wednesday.

Just 13 days after Jessica Dickson’s collegiate career came to an end, the all-time leading scorer in USF history begins anew in the Women’s National Basketball Association.

With the 21st pick, the Sacramento Monarchs selected Dickson, the highest a USF women’s basketball player has been chosen since Wanda Guyton was selected fifth in 1997.

“I’m just glad that this is over, but I think that this is a blessing,” Dickson said in a statement. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl to play professional basketball, and I’m just really enjoying the moment right now.”

Dickson leaves behind a program where she became the career leader in points scored, surpassing Charlie Bradley’s 21-year-old scoring record and finishing with a total of 2,402 points.

During her four years as a Bull, Dickson led USF to three WNITs and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. Her freshman season marked the first postseason appearance in the program’s history.

“I think it’s definitely a great opportunity for her. I think she is going to have a bright future in the league,” coach Jose Fernandez said during a phone call from Cleveland, home of the 2007 WNBA Draft. “She’s the type of kid where she’ll fill the needs of (Sacramento) and have a big impact with the team.”

Dickson was the first player from the Big East Conference to be selected in the draft and was eighth choice in the second round, with each round in the WNBA draft consisting of 13 selections. Dickson wasprojected to be a late first-round choice.

“We were extremely surprised when Jessica fell to the second round and she was available at our pick,” John Whisnant, general manager of the Sacramento Monarchs said in a statement. “We had the opportunity to see her live three or four times and on tape several times, and we feel that she is a gifted offensive player that brings tremendous one-on-one abilities that are not really seen in the WNBA. We are very happy to get her.”

The Monarchs finished the season with a record of 21-13, second-best in the Western Conference. During the playoffs, Sacramentodefeated Houston and Los Angeles before falling in the finals to the Detroit Shock 4-1 in a best-of-seven series.

Two years ago, the Monarchs defeated the Connecticut Sun to win their first championship in franchise history; Yolanda Griffith averaged 18.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during the championship series and was named Finals MVP.

Dickson joins a frontcourt with DeMya Walker and reigning all-star and former WNBA MVP Griffith. The Monarchs were the only team in the league to hold their opponents to less than 30 rebounds per game.

“Jessica is a special player and a scorer, I think everyone knows that,” Fernandez said. “She’s familiar with a couple of the players on the Sacramento roster already, so I think it’s a really good fit.”