Thursday Dec 20, 2012
Houston, who earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is now playing professional basketball in Turkey, will be on hand for the unveiling of a new banner bearing her name and jersey number 23. It will hang in the Savannah Center Gymnasium, where the Merrillville High graduate and four-time NAIA All-American led the Lady RedHawks to back-to-back national tournament appearances while posting the best numbers of any RedHawk player in the program’s history.
Houston owns school records for total career points (2,784), career scoring average (23.4 ppg), career rebounds (1,722), career rebound average (14.5), career blocks (489), and career blocks average (4.2). She also set school records with 43 points, 31 rebounds and 12 blocks, respectively, in single-game efforts. Five times Houston was named NAIA Player of the Week.
In the RedHawks’ conference, the Association of Independent Institutions, Houston was named Player of the Year all four years of her career. She was named A.I.I. Tournament MVP in 2010 and 2011 and made three A.I.I. All-Tournament Teams.
Houston led the resurgence of an IU Northwest women’s team that won a school-record 24 games in 2010-11 and won a record 16 consecutive contests in 2011-12. That run included a road victory over NCAA Division I foe Chicago State on Feb. 1, 2012. It was the first time the Lady RedHawks had ever defeated an NCAA D-I opponent.
Head Coach Ryan Shelton said the Dec. 29 event is a way for the university to acknowledge Houston’s significant contributions to a women’s program that had struggled prior to her arrival as part of a powerhouse 2008 recruiting class. That group also included standouts Juliette Keller and Nina Wills and a dedicated cast of role players. Together, they turned the Lady RedHawks into a competitive program, and Houston’s dominance in the paint brought national attention to IU Northwest athletics.
Houston’s former teammates have been invited to attend next Saturday’s games and the ceremony.
“Sharon's outstanding career is representative of the hard work, dedication and success that she and her teammates brought to IU Northwest during the past four years,” Shelton said. “Sharon was a great player on great teams with great teammates. Her family, teammates and coaches are happy to share this tremendous honor with her."
This is not the Lady RedHawks’ first alumni-related event this year. In October, the current RedHawk squad played a preseason alumni scrimmage against their predecessors.
Houston, who plays for the Turkish Nallihan Spor basketball team, was out of the country and unable to participate in that game. But Shelton said the Dec. 29 event is another good way to acknowledge the contributions of a pivotal former player and maintain the program’s valued connection to its alumni.
“Each time we took the floor, I knew we had the best player and a great chance to win,” he said. “Sharon had great teammates around her and the program achieved unprecedented success at IU Northwest. She is a special player and person."
The brief ceremony to honor Sharon Houston will take place just prior to the 3 p.m. women’s basketball game between IU Northwest and Purdue Calumet. The men’s teams will open the doubleheader at 1 p.m.
About Indiana University Northwest
As one of seven Indiana University campuses, IU Northwest leads the region as the premier, urban campus dedicated to serving the needs of more than 6,000 students from the state’s most diverse and industrialized region. Committed to helping its local Northwest Indiana communities thrive, IU Northwest is best-known for providing a personal, quality and affordable education close to home. IU Northwest positions its students to be leaders with more than 70 undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional degree options available from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Business and Economics, and the School of Education. The campus is also host to IU School of Medicine-Northwest, which actively involves students in research and local healthcare needs through its four-year medical doctorate program. For more information, please visit www.iun.edu.