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30 Greatest Tigers of the Decade: #28 Temeka Johnson
by Poseur on Jan 3, 2010 12:00 PM CST
#28 Temeka Johnson
Temeka Johnson is the greatest point guard in LSU's history. She won the Lieberman Award her senior year, 2005, awarded to the nation's top point guard. She guided LSU to the Final Four every year she was a starter, and graduated with just about every record for assists one can imagine. She went on to the WNBA success and won a national title with the Mercury.
But, really, we can't not talk about The Turnover. It's a shame that someone as accomplished as Jonhson will always be remembered first not for all of the great plays she made, but for one mistake. In the semifinals against Tennessee in 2004, LSU slowly lost its lead and found itself tied at 50 with 6 seconds to play. Johnson, playing through an injury, made a bad pass in the backcourt, turning the ball over. The Lady Vols put in an uncontested layup off the giveaway and won 52-50. It is easily the most painful loss in LSU women's basketball history.
So let's look at the great things Temeka did for the program. First and foremost among them, she arrived as a partial qualifier in 2000 and was therefore required to sit out the 2000-2001 season. Instead of compalining, Temeka worked hard in the classroom and graduated in August of 2004, earning an extra year of eligibility.
And what an extra year. Johnson did everything she could to avenge that loss in 2004, and earned the aforementioned Liberman Award and All-American honors en route to setting the SEC record for career assists. Beware arbitrary end points, but LSU's media guide notes she is the only player in LSU history with 1000 points, 500 assists, and 50 rebounds. Which is even more absurd when you think that she was a small 5'3".
On a team dominated by the frontcourt stars, Johnson's guiding hand kept the team on track. She was overshadowed by Augustus and Fowles, but she was every bit as important of a cog in those great teams. No, they never won the national title, but consistent greatness is never truly appreciated. Four straight Final Fours is a tremendous accomplishment, one that was made possible by the greatest point guard we ever had the good fortune to have.