Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, Whitmore played collegiate basketball while attending the University of Memphis on a scholarship. She finished second in career scoring with 2,488 points, first in career field goal percentage at 60.6%, fourth in career rebounds with 952, and second in career blocked shots with 108. She was the Conference USA player of the year in 1998 and 1999. She led the NCAAW in scoring during her senior year at University of Memphis.
In 1998, Whitmore was named to the team representing the USA at the William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The USA team won all five games, earning the gold medal for the competition. Whitmore was the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 9.8 points per game over the five games.
Afterwards, she signed another free agent contract with the Indiana Fever for the 2006 season. In Game 2 of the Fever's semifinals matchup against the Shock, Tamika Whitmore set a WNBA record for points in a playoff game with 41, breaking Lisa Leslie's mark of 35.