Practicing like a junior high basketball team helped Natasha Mack make OSU cowgirl history.
Mack recorded just the second triple-double in OSU women’s basketball history in a 78-53 victory over TCU Wednesday night. She finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 blocks.
The Cowgirls are used to Mack putting up some monster stat lines, but to drop 28 points and record the first Cowgirl triple double since Brittney Martin in 2012, something had to be different.
“The difference in Mack tonight is she used the backboard,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “We feel like (last game) she left a lot of shots out there, just trying to shoot over the front of the rim and when you get bumped and you’re playing inside (it’s harder to score). It’s a physical league, you don’t have to be as pure when you use the glass.”
Littell said that his practices in the days leading up to the game looked like a junior high practice because the drills centered around shooting shots off the backboard and making free throws.
The practices worked for Mack and the Cowgirls. In the game against TCU, the Cowgirls only missed two shots inside of 2 feet and Mack converted 4-5 free throws.
Mack’s historic performance in Fort Worth came at a crucial time for the Cowgirls. Because of COVID-19 protocols, only eight players were able to dress for the game. Littell said he was counting on veteran players such as Mack and junior Ja’Mee Asberry to shoulder much of the load.
For Littell, the most special part of the night was not Mack getting her name in a record book, but the way Mack’s teammates reacted to her stats postgame.
“I think what’s special is all of our kids in our locker room just went crazy when they heard her numbers, and it’s because she is such a special teammate,” Littell said. “She is loved by everybody in our locker room, and I think that’s very important. There’s not one ounce of jealousy.”