Gooden's storied hoops career leads to hall of fame

April 26, 2019

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – A quarter of a century after being regarded as the nation’s best girls basketball player, Tiffany Gooden is entering the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Gooden is one of 17 women chosen for the Silver Anniversary Team, which recognizes the Indiana All-Stars and 5 other All-State players from the Class of 1994. Gooden, who played at Snider High School, won Indiana Miss Basketball that year, and was named Naismith National Prep Player of the Year and ParadeNational Player of the Year.

“Being part of the Silver Anniversary Team is a full-circle accomplishment,” Gooden tells “To be able to share that with my teammates is really great.”

The Indiana All-Star squad beat Kentucky’s All-Stars in both games that summer. Gooden scored 31 points in one game and a combined 55 points for the two games – both of which are records still standing.

“Back then, we spent two weeks together. We got to know each other. We were fortunate to win both of those games and we formed some bonds,” she adds.

Gooden says she nearly missed nods at Miss Basketball and the Indiana All-Star team due to injuries she had at the AAU national tournament the summer before her senior season. Despite missing a few games at the beginning of her Snider season, she finished with averages of 28.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Snider faced strong competition in the Summit Athletic Conference, and the Lady Panthers clinched the SAC Holiday Tournament championship.

Gooden's Miss Basketball/National Player of Year banner hangs high above Kilmer Court at Snider High School. Gooden played for Kilmer from 1990-94.

“All the rivalries we had between Snider and Northrop,” Gooden recalls. “The gyms being sold out, and people looking through the window, because they couldn’t get a seat.” Gooden was also a standout volleyball player, helping Snider to the 1991 state championship. She also competed in track & field.

Gooden also fondly remembers playing for Snider’s state championship coach LaMar Kilmer and his ability to utilize her versatility for the betterment of the team. Gooden still tells of a bond they shared even after she continued her playing career at the University of Iowa.

Gooden's 2,198 career points at Snider ranks her 20th all-time in Indiana girls basketball history. (courtesy Snider Safari Yearbook)

“He realized how much pressure I had as a young person,” she says. “He knew he had a special talent. But he cared about me as a person. And that’s what I appreciated about him. Even on Senior Night in college--long after I stopped playing for him--he walked out with my parents on that special day.” Kilmer passed away in 2002, and was posthumously elected to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

While at Iowa, Gooden was part of two regular season Big Ten championship teams and a Big Ten Tournament title team. Individually, she was Big Ten Freshman of the Year and earned athletic and academic All-Conference honors. Gooden was drafted 18th overall by the Colorado Explosion in in the 1998 American Basketball League Draft.

Gooden cites her love for the game of basketball from a young age: from shooting hoops with her brother and father, to college coaches coming to her Blackhawk Middle School games.  Gooden would eventually win The Journal Gazette’s inaugural award for most outstanding player in the SAC—boy or girl. The award was named for her then, and still bears her name today

“Fort Wayne is always home. To see where things have come and to continue to support basketball in this city—girls basketball in particular—is really great.”

After her playing career ended, Gooden graduated from the University of Iowa’s College of Law. She has practiced law since 2002. She lives in Fishers, Indiana, with her family.

“I have a wonderful husband and wonderful son. To be able to share this with them is very important,” Gooden says.

The Journal Gazette presents the Tiffany Gooden Award each spring for the most outstanding basketball player in the SAC.

The 2019 Women's Silver Anniversary will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday night in Indianapolis.

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