Women’s Hoops Star Had Rough Start in Life
March 5, 2012 – Star women's basketball player Ta’Shauna “Sugar” Rodgers (C’13) was only 14 when she lost her mother to Lupus.
Rodgers spent the remainder of high school shuffling between the homes of relatives, friends and coaches.
“Just going and playing basketball was something I would do not to think about [her mom’s death],” she says.
The 5’11” junior shooting guard, who earned All Big East Honors last week for the third year in a row, has come a long way from shooting hoops in her hometown of Suffolk, Va.
Rodgers, named team captain for the second year in a row, started in all 30 games and led Georgetown in scoring this season. This past Sunday, the Hoyas lost to West Virginia in the Big East tournament and will head to the NCAA tournament with a 22-8 record.
The English major is also a two-time All-American and three-time First Team All-Big East honoree.
“I would like to [one day] play here with the [Washington] Mystics if possible,” she says. “I would play anywhere, but I prefer the Mystics because it’s close to home and it won’t be a big transition going from Georgetown to across the street.”
Even before she started to play basketball at age 9 or 10, Rodgers was proving herself among the boys in her neighborhood as the only girl on her neighborhood football team.
“We used to play with no equipment,” she says. “People broke bones, noses. It was fun. It was – now that I look back on it – it was crazy.”
She also liked playing golf – a sport she says she still prefers over basketball.
“Only because in golf you don’t have to do all the running,” she jokes. “And it’s based on what you can do [as opposed to being part of a team]. So that’s less pressure.”
PAth to Georgetown
But basketball is what stuck with Rodgers, and once her skills on the court became known in high school, she began playing for Marcellus Spencer “Boo” Williams Jr., the brother of Georgetown women’s basketball coach Terri Williams-Flournoy.
Williams runs a well-known Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team in Hampton, Va.
While playing for Williams, Rodgers, a 2007 AAU under-16 MVP, began thinking about playing college basketball.
“Where I came from, school wasn’t a big deal,” Rodgers says. “Basketball was first in my high school, and time management was the worst for me. I usually wanted to sleep all day and play basketball and do no school work. But now it’s different.”
The transition to becoming a good student was hard fought, but Williams-Flournoy helped her and encouraged her to apply to Georgetown.
“It was a lot of work to get Sugar to understand everything that she needed to do and not just to get into to [college], but to be a good student … it’s just unbelievable the transformation she has made,” the coach says.
Balancing school and basketball has gotten easier, Rodgers says.
And one day, after basketball, she would like to become an English and art teacher.
“It would be nice to just give back to the community,” she says. “You can help other kids.”