The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, December 17, 2019 4:00 am

Indiana Hall honor humbles former city star

Gooden credits her 'village' with helping her along way

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

Tiffany Gooden, a Snider graduate, the 1994 Miss Basketball and Naismith and Parade Magazine Player of the Year, will be inducted to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame with the 2020 class. It is the first year she is eligible for induction.

“It felt wonderful,” Gooden said of receiving the news. “To think about that whole process, and going through my senior year having torn my ACL, and the doctors telling me that I would never play again, just to overcome that adversity and be national player of the year, I think about what that represents.

“It's not just about me, but about the village around me: my family, my community, and what that means for Fort Wayne, which is always home.”

Gooden scored 2,198 points in her high school career, graduating as the fifth-leading girls scorer in Indiana history. She averaged 28.7 points and nine rebounds as a senior.

She will be inducted with fellow 1994 graduates Debbie (Benziger) Dudukovich of Kokomo, who reached the state finals with her Wildkats, and Angela Hamblin-Blakely of Gary Lew Wallace. Gooden and Hamblin-Blakely played college ball together at Iowa, where they won two Big Ten titles and one Big Ten Tournament title. 

“It's amazing,” Gooden said. “We were part of the No. 1 recruiting class in the country when we came in (to Iowa). I didn't know (Hamblin-Blakely) until my senior year. And she's just a great person. She's a great basketball player, but she's an even better person. She has two daughters, and they both play, and I try to support them. And she supports me, and that's the way it's always been.”

Gooden was named the 1995 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was the Hawkeyes' leading scorer as a sophomore, when she was named to the All-Big Ten team. She was also named to the All-Big Ten academic team twice, and in 1998 she was drafted by the Colorado Explosion of the ABL. The league folded soon afterward, and she transitioned to a career in law, graduating from University of Iowa College of Law. She focuses on sports and entertainment and labor and employment law. 

The rest of the induction class of 2020 includes Tina (Reece) Bennett of Austin (graduated 1985), Amy Brauman of Brownsburg (1991), Kristin (Mattox) Cox of Charlestown (1992), Sandy Herre of Benton Central (1988), Danielle McCulley of Gary West (1993), Erika (McCoy) Robinson of Seymour (1986), Stacie Shepherd of Richmond (1990) and Amy (Walker) Sundt of Bedford North Lawrence (1991). 

“The Silver Anniversary team was a great honor,” Gooden said, referring to her inclusion in the Hall of Fame's annual team that recognizes the state's top players 25 years after their graduation. “This is a little bit different. The Silver Anniversary team, usually, if you made the Indiana All-Stars, you get on to Silver Anniversary team. But to be named individually, and to make a speech and do all those things, it will be really special.”

Harold Metheny of Shelburn is being honored with the Indiana Fever Silver Medal Award.

The 2020 class will be honored at the 19th annual Women's Awards Banquet on April 25.


2020 Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Induction Class

• Tina (Reece) Bennett, Austin, 1985

• Amy Brauman, Brownsburg, 1991

• Kristin (Mattox) Cox, Charlestown, 1992

• Debbie (Benzinger) Dudukovich, Kokomo, 1994

• Tiffany Gooden, Snider, 1994

• Angela Hamblin-Blakely, Gary Lew Wallace, 1994

• Sandy Herre, Benton Central, 1988

• Danielle McCulley, Gary West, 1993

• Erika (McCoy) Robinson, Seymour, 1986

• Stacie Shepherd, Richmond, 1990

• Amy (Walker) Sundt, Bedford North Lawrence, 1991

Indiana Fever Silver Medal Award: Harold Metheny, Shelburn, 1952

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