Hard work and dedication births greatness. Connecticut Sun forward Shekinna Stricklen was victorious in the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest on Friday, July 26. Stricklen banked 23 points against 2018 runner up and fan favorite Kayla McBride of the Las Vegas Aces, who fell short scoring 22 points. Stricklen was awarded $10,000 to donate to a charity of her choice and chose a local nonprofit, Room 29:11, which provides foster families with the essentials needed to properly care for children placed in their care.
As a product of a small town, Shekinna is a true beacon of light for Morrilton and those who are inspired by her. She attended Morrilton High School, home of the Devil Dogs, where she helped lead the team to the 2006 state championship and went on to play at the collegiate level for the Tennessee Lady Vols. She is using her influence to make change in the community and remains humble through it all. She says, “Giving 10K to a charity in my community that can really help kids and the families that are taking care of them is a blessing.”
You’ve put in a tremendous amount of work to get to where you are today. The Connecticut Sun are ranked number one in the WNBA at 15-6. Although you didn’t make the All-Star game, you soaked up the spotlight as the three-point contest champ. It was such a monumental moment! What was this experience like and did you doubt yourself at any point throughout the competition?
The experience was amazing! Although I didn’t make the All-Star game, they still treated me like an All-Star. I was a little nervous at the beginning of the competition, but I didn’t doubt myself. I am a great three-point shooter and I had a lot of confidence and support.
Coming off of your win, how are you gearing up for the rest of the season?
It just made my confidence go up even higher. I believe my three-point shooting helps the team out. I mean, we’re in first place right now and fighting to win the championship!
You chose Room 29:11, a nonprofit in your hometown of Morrilton that focuses on providing essential items for foster families to receive your $10K donation. What does giving back to your community mean to you?
Giving back to my community means so much to me. It’s where I was born and raised. I truly believe I have a lot of support from the community. Giving 10K to a charity in my community that can really help kids and the families that are taking care of them is a blessing.
Coming from a small town – playing your heart out from high school, college and now professionally – and using your influence to make an impact in your community is worthy of recognition. What challenges have you faced throughout your career and what key takeaways do you have in regards to playing in the WNBA?
It’s been a lot of ups and downs throughout my career. From high school to the highest level in the WNBA. I got drafted to Seattle, played there for three years. Then got traded to Connecticut and been here for five years now. Going from one coast to another and with a different team was tough. But an overall challenge for me throughout my career, just being far away from my family, not getting to spend a lot time with them. Missing several holidays, birthdays, and etcétera. But I take none of this for granted. I am blessed and thankful to be playing the game I love.