UT Tyler junior Michelle Obach is an All-American.
Obach led the Patriots to new heights this season and has earned 2016 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division III All-America team honors for her efforts.
The native Tylerite propelled the Patriots to a 30-2 record and to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. She is one of 10 players in the nation to earn the honor which was selected by a vote of the WBCA selection committee. The committee is composed of one representative from each of the nine geographical regions and a chairperson.
Obach was outstanding throughout her junior season for the Patriots leading the team with 18.0 points per game along with 71 steals and 114 assists (3.6 per), including scoring in double-digits 28 times and having four or more assists in 15 games.
“My team was extremely talented, which made my job super easy,” Obach said. “I firmly believed that on any given night one of the girls could go off, and that made us extremely hard to stop. And the incredible thing is I’d pick our reserves over starters on any team in our conference any day. It really took 1 through 17 on our roster, every single one of us, to experience the success we did this year.”
Obach is the second all-American in program history joining Brittany King who was a D3hoops.com All-American during the 2013-14 season. She is joined on the WBCA All-American team by Shannon Brady (Bowdoin College), Shalette Brown (Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham), Kelecia Harris (Albright), Kaitlin Langer (St. Thomas), Maura McAfee (Hope College), KC McConnell (Whitworth), Sydney Moss (Thomas More), Lisa Murphy (Carnegie Mellon) and Michela North (Tufts). Moss was named the WBCA NCAA Division III Player of the Year for the third straight season.
A guard from Tyler, Obach was also named the American Southwest Conference East Division Player of the Year after earning four player of the week honors throughout the regular season. Along with leading her team deep into the NCAA Tournament, Obach established a new program record with 576 points this season where she drilled 72 3-pointers and also hit 132 free throws. Her 38 points against UT Dallas in the regular-season finale are the most in program history, breaking her 37 points against LeTourneau earlier in the season and her 36 points against Sul Ross last year as a sophomore.
“I’m so proud of Michelle and the season she was able to put together,” UT Tyler head coach Kendra Hassell said. “She worked extremely hard in the offseason and throughout the season and pushed her teammates to do the same. Michelle is a great scorer and she also has the ability to get her teammates open for shots. I would anticipate that she will do everything she can to outwork our opponents this offseason. Because of that, I think she has the potential to have an even better senior year.”
Obach has now played for the Patriots for two seasons after beginning her career at Merrimack College. She will enter her senior season with 893 career points along with 236 assists and 142 steals in 62 games for the Patriots. Her 42.4 career 3-point percentage ranks first in program history, while the point total is eighth, her 108 career 3-pointers are fifth and her 236 assists and 142 steals both rank fifth in program history. With Obach on the court, UT Tyler has accumulated an astonishing 57-5 overall record.
“The goal every time I took the court was to win,” Obach said. “I wanted my role for the team to be someone who would do anything it took for us to get wins. I’ve developed this year confidence-wise. I had constant support from my coaches and teammates who believed in me and my ability to do some of the things I did this year. I knew that in every high pressure situation that my team had my back, and that was amazing for me. To go along with this, I put on like 10-15 pounds over the summer by getting in the weight room. I felt like I got intimidated last year by older and bigger players because I was already undersized, and I think getting stronger allowed me to take pressure better and it gave me a confidence in knowing that people weren’t going to push me around. I think a huge strength for me this year was scoring the ball, along with being more of a leader on the court.
“The sky’s the limit for us next season,” Obach added. “I think the way our season ended this year has left us all extremely hungry. We know now what it takes to go deep in the NCAA tournament and I don’t think we’ll stop until we get a national championship. I know we’re all going to work hard over the summer and come back even better next season.”