Dowdell joins elite company at Louisiana Tech

Published 2:57 pm Friday, January 29, 2010

Louisiana Tech forward Shanavia Dowdell had a game for the ages Tuesday in the Lady Techsters loss at Nevada.

The senior joined some pretty elite company in the storied history of the Lady Techster basketball program with her 31-point, 20-rebound effort against the Wolf Pack.

Dowdell was selected as Miss Basketball and the Class 2A Player of the Year following her senior season at Calera High School in 2005-2006.

In the game, Dowdell hit 12-of-26 field goals and 7-of-10 free throws for the career-high 31 points while pulling down seven offensive and 13 defensive rebounds. She played all 40 minutes while adding three blocks.

“She has done an incredible job of working to make herself a better basketball player,” said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. “She just doesn’t want to be good; she wants to be excellent. She did an incredible job of putting this team on her shoulders (against Nevada). Thirty-one and 20; those are incredible numbers.”

Following the game as the two teams were shaking hands, Nevada head coach Jane Albright approached Dowdell and spoke one-on-one with her.

“She told me that she admired my fight,” Dowdell said.

Albright made even a more profound statement than that in her post-game press conference when talking about the reigning WAC Player of the Year

“Dowdell is as good a player to ever wear a Louisiana Tech uniform,” Albright told media.

A pretty bold statement about a program that has seen 16 Kodak All-Americans step on the floor for it.

Not only did Dowdell become only the third player in the 36-year history of the program to score 30 or more points and pull down 20 or more rebounds in a game, joining former Techsters Elinor Griffin and LaVerne Henderson, but she became the first in more than 30 years.

Henderson accomplished the feat three times in her career, all coming in the inaugural season of Lady Techster basketball in 1975 while Griffin accomplished it twice – once in 1977 and once in 1978.

Dowdell also became only the second player in the Division I ranks this year to reach the totals, joining Northeastern’s Brittany Wilson who scored 34 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against Harvard on Dec. 9.

Dowdell leads the Western Athletic Conference in scoring with 18.1 points per game while ranking first in the WAC and 4th nationally in rebounding at 12.0 rebounds per game. The 20-rebound performance is one of only 24 in the country this season.

Dowdell’s 12.0 rebounds per game average would also rank sixth best in Tech history behind Cheryl Ford (12.9 in 2002-03), Venus Lacy (12.7 in 1989-90), Elinor Griffin (12.6 in 1977-78, 13.3 in 1976-77) and LaVerne Henderson (15.6 in 1974-75).