STILLWATER – For the second day in a row, Oklahoma State’s Natasha Mack, has received national recognition after being tabbed the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Friday.
Additionally, Mack picked up her fifth different All-America honor after being recognized as a third-team pick by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Yesterday, she was named the 2021 WBCA NCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year.
Mack’s announcement came courtesy of college basketball broadcaster and Atlanta Tipoff Club executive committee member Debbie Antonelli.
“Natasha shined and was widely recognized nationally for her tenacity on the defensive end of the court and often times taking over games to propel her team to victory,” Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club said.
The Defensive Player of the Year award honors the best defensive women’s basketball player in all of NCAA Division I. All conference defensive players of the year in NCAA Division I are considered for the award. If a conference does not select a defensive player of the year, the conference office can nominate one to be considered.
“I am honored to be named the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year! It means a lot to me to see the amount of blood, sweat and tears I put into this game being rewarded,” Mack said. “I couldn’t have done this without my amazing support group who has helped me keep my head high and my mind focused. I just want to thank everyone who has believed in me and has helped me on my journey.”
Mack edged out three other finalists for the women’s award, including Aliyah Boston from South Carolina, Veronica Burton of Northwestern and Aari McDonald from Arizona.
The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous Big 12 All-Defensive Team and first-team all-league selection, Mack is also a finalist for the Katrina McClain Award, which is given to the nation’s top power forward. Additionally, she was named a second-team All-American by ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated and a third-team pick by the Associated Press and The Athletic.
The Lufkin, Texas native also appeared on the Wade Trophy Watch List, the Naismith Award Midseason Team and was tabbed as the Big 12 Player of the Week on three occasions.
This season, Mack broke her own school single-season mark with 112 blocks, the nation’s best total as well. Her 4.0 blocks per game also lead the country. Mack averaged 9.2 defensive rebounds on the year, which ranks fourth in the country and her 19 double-doubles are the second-best tally nationally. She finished her senior campaign with 56 steals, which ranks 56th nationally as well.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club’s board of selectors, comprised of leading media members from around the country, selected the winners, basing their selections on outstanding on-court defensive performances during the 2020-21 college basketball season.