La’Tangela Chiquita Atkinson was born in Bishopville, South Carolina on March 22, 1984. La’Tangela was selected as the ninth overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever. On March 23, 2007, she was traded to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for the Monarchs’ second round pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. La’Tangela was waived by the Monarchs on June 28, 2008.
La’Tangela attended Lee Central High School in Bishopville, South Carolina, where she was coached by Dorothy Fortune and James Dizzley. She was an All-America selection by McDonald’s, Phoenix/WBCA and Parade magazine. She was South Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year in her junior and senior years and the state’s Miss Basketball as a senior. La’Tangela also played three years of softball and two of volleyball. She was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
La’Tangela attended the University of North Carolina from 2002-2006, where she she had a double major in African American studies and communication studies. She played basketball for the Tar Heels under coach Sylvia Hatchell. La’Tangela was the 2003 ACC Rookie of the Year, and named to the 2003 ACC All-Freshman team.
In her sophomore year, she was named to the 2003-04 All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team. She finished the season as the ACC’s leading rebounder, with 8.1 per game. She also ranked third on the team in scoring, and first in rebounding.
In her junior year, La’Tangela led her team in rebounding and ranked sixth in the ACC in that statistic. She was fifth on her team in scoring, and her field goal percentage was 11th in the ACC. She was also ranked 11th in the league in steals.