The TAMIU women's basketball team had a record breaking season, but now one of their own has pulled off a feat no other Dustdevil athlete has yet to accomplish.
Looking at Malika Jackson's accomplishments from this season, it's easy to see why so many awards have piled up in her favor. Over 19 points and six rebounds a game for a team setting program history with 19 wins, a regular season conference championship and an at large bid in the NCAA tournament are all great marks. But when she wasn't named the Heartland Conference Player of the Year, the idea of being tabbed as an All-American went out the window, until this week when she was named to the D-II honorable mention list.
"I was speechless honestly, I wasn't expecting it."
Just two years ago the center admits she struggled to run up and down the court more than a couple times. But it was head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson that lit a fire under her and showed the All-American what it truly meant to work hard.
"While other people were asleep, I was in the gym working and I was just motivated because I knew if I was in better shape I’d be a better basketball player."
"The tone that she set through her work ethic in practices everyday, her mindset, her winning mentality has spread through the rest of the teammates."
Now she stands alone in TAMIU history as the first Dustdevil to ever be recognized with an All-American award.
"I didn't know I was the first All-American in TAMIU history, so that's the biggest accomplishment I’ve ever had in my life. It's a great feeling, I love it, I’m excited and i want to keep striving for more."
Jackson says she plans to finish her degree next spring and would love to pursue a professional basketball career overseas once she has graduated.