When Tasha Dickey was just a toddler, her mother took her down to the floor of the University of Arizona's basketball court and let her and her older sister run around.

"I told them, 'Run in Mama's footsteps!' " recalled Lisa Dickey, who played for the Wildcats. "She was 3 years old. I couldn't wait."

It was worth the wait for everyone as Tasha Dickey turned out to be one of the most exciting players to watch in Utah this season. She earned the 2006-07 Deseret Morning News Ms. Basketball award not just for her statistical success, but for her ability to improve those who share the sideline with her.

"She was a really good leader," said Brighton coach Jim Gresh. "She's very athletic, overall more so than almost anyone I've ever coached. She can really jump."

Her athleticism led to some thrilling moments for Bengal fans.

"She made some great moves," Gresh said.

Dickey put up some impressive numbers, and there is nothing she can't do on the basketball court. She averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals per game. One of her most impressive accomplishments may have been helping the Bengals get to the playoffs in a year where most thought they'd be rebuilding.

"I don't think people realize all of the work she's put in, even after practices or games," Lisa Dickey said. "She's never satisfied with her game. This kid is relentless."

Tasha Dickey may be a workhorse, but she does know how to have a good time.

"She helped us by keeping the team loose, keeping the team relaxed," said Gresh. "She's a fun-loving girl. She's not intense or high strung."

Dickey moved to Brighton her junior year. She attended three high schools in four years, as her father's job took them traveling. Charlie Dickey is an assistant football coach at the University of Utah, and Tasha's older sister, Jazmin, runs track at the U.

But Dickey is headed back to play college basketball at the place the family started — Arizona.

"We'll be taking a lot of road trips," said Charlie Dickey. "That was kind of a dream for her to go back there."

E-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com