LAWAYNTA DAWSON WIGGINS
Inducted February 12, 2005
LaWaynta Dawson turned in two excellent seasons for the SMS basketball Lady Bears from 1989 to 1991 and was a key cog on the first SMS women’s postseason team at center. A native of Kansas City, Mo., Dawson came to SMS after one season each at Prairie View A&M University in Texas and Moberly (Mo.) Junior College and an armful of honors from her earlier playing career. She helped the Lady Bears of coach Cheryl Burnett to a 19-8 season, which was a significant turnaround from the 7-20 team a year earlier. SMS wound up 14-4 in Gateway Conference play and in a three-way tie for the league title with Southern Illinois and Illinois State. Dawson led the Lady Bears in scoring with a 12.9 average, in rebounding with a 6.5 average, in field goal accuracy at .554 and in blocked shots and minutes played, to win a spot on the 10-player all-league team. SMS was even better Dawson’s senior season as the Lady Bears set a school season win record by turning in a 26-5 mark. SMS was 16-2 in conference play to win the league title by three games each over SIU and Illinois State. The Lady Bears stopped Drake and SIU to win the conference tournament and gained selection into their first-ever NCAA tourney. The Lady Bears drew a first round home game against Tennessee Tech and pounded the visitors, 94-64. That win earned SMS a road game at the top team in the nation and eventual national champion Tennessee. SMS lost, 55-47 to the Lady Vols. Dawson repeated her first team all-league honors and her team leadership in scoring (16.8), rebounding (7.4), blocked shots and minutes played. Dawson was named the SMS basketball Player of the Decade (1982-92) for the first 10 SMS seasons in Division I.