By GARY STALLARD
There are nearly 200 teams and more 5,000 athletes in the National Junior College Athletics Association’s women’s basketball ranks.
As of Thursday, Angelina College’s Natasha Mack officially is No. 1.
The organization on Thursday announced that Mack, a sophomore from Lufkin, has been named the 2019 Spalding NJCAA Division I Player of the Year. This just days after Mack learned she’d been named 1st Team All-American.
Thursday’s announcement marks Mack’s second National Player of the Year award this year, with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association bestowing its own Player of the Year honor earlier this month.
From the NJCAA’s release: “Natasha Mack of Angelina altered not only shots, but opposing game plans on both ends of the court during a dominant sophomore campaign. For her efforts, Mack has been named the 2019 Spalding® NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Player of the Year.”
Mack led her own conference in several categories and was among league leaders in the national statistics. She finished the season as the nation’s leader in blocked shots and was near the top in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
After establishing a new all-time program record for points in a career with 1,471, Mack led the Lady Roadrunners to a 29-4 record and the Lady Roadrunners’ first-ever appearance in the national tournament after AC took home the conference tournament championship.
Mack is the first Angelina College athlete to earn both 1st Team All-American status and the National Player of the Year award.
Lady Roadrunner head coach Byron Coleman said the award isn’t surprising considering Mack’s spectacular season.
“What can you say? She had a phenomenal year, the type of year that will go down not only in Angelina College history but in NJCAA history as well,” Coleman said. “I’m nothing but ecstatic for her.”
Mack’s accomplishments didn’t just lift the Lady ‘Runners to the best season in program history; her efforts also lifted the program to national prominence, and Coleman is already seeing the results.
“She’s given us momentum,” Coleman said. “We’ve been a good program for a long time here in a tough league, and now she’s elevated us nationally to a different level. We’re getting calls from all over the country from people wanting to know more about our program.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of Natasha. She worked so hard, and she deserves every bit of the recognition she’s receiving.”
Mack is the daughter of Bonnie Lee and Anthony Mack.
.The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.