Colby College senior Rachael Mack is still contemplating life after basketball, a game she’s played practically all her life.

“It’s definitely a shock,” said Mack, whose career ended with a loss to Amherst on Feb. 25. “When you’re with the same group three or four hours a day, six or seven days a week … “

Mack arrived at the Waterville school with high expectations, having won both Miss Maine Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year in her senior season at Cony High School. And by all accounts she has fulfilled them.

“She meant a lot to the team every year,” Colby coach Julie Veilleux said. “Just in terms of every aspect — rebounding, defense and scoring.”

Veilleux, who also played at Cony, became Colby’s third head coach in as many years last summer. Mack said the adjustment was an easy one since none of them made dramatic changes and all were good people and coaches.

“They always put the needs of the team first,” she said.

So, too, has Mack, who has quietly compiled an impressive list of career statistics.

The 6-foot-2 forward was recently named to the All-New England Small College Athletic Conference first team after finishing in the top 10 in the conference in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and blocked shots. She would have led the conference in foul shooting at 88.4 percent (38 for 43) but didn’t have enough attempts to qualify.

“She consistently brings those things,” Veilleux said. “You don’t run into players like that often.”

Mack’s career stats at Colby are even more impressive. She finished tied for fifth in career scoring with 1,241 points, grabbed 802 rebounds and dished out 156 assists. She also recorded 125 steals and blocked 122 shots.

She was an economical scorer, too, finishing at 51.7 percent from the field, 41.9 from 3-point range and 85.4 percent from the foul line. Mack started all 107 games she played at Colby.

The 3-point shooting was something new for Mack this season, thanks to Veilleux, who not only brought her to the perimeter often but ran designed plays for her. Mack’s 3 late in the game helped the Mules clinch a big win against Williams. Prior to this year, Mack had only attempted eight 3-pointers, making four of them.

But Veilleux recognized her outside shooting ability in practice, and with Jil Vaughn thriving in the low post, Mack found herself on the perimeter fairly often. This season she made 36 of 86 attempts from 3-point range, fourth best in the conference.

“This year she might have stood out a little more,” Veilleux said. “The most obvious thing that stands out is her 3-point shooting.”

Mack has gained muscle and confidence since arriving at Colby four years ago. Still reticent, she’s emerged from her shell.

“In high school and early in my (college) career I was a little too quiet,” said Mack, who was a team captain this season. “I felt more of a sense of responsibility (this season) to keep everyone together and on track.”

Veilleux praised Mack’s consistency in practice and games and noted her demeanor rarely changed no matter how she was playing.

“As quiet as she seems she is very competitive,” Veilleux said. “And she really isn’t that quiet of a person. She’s really grown into a unique young woman. The future is bright.”

An environmental science major, Mack will graduate this spring and has been applying for jobs. She drew attention from some larger schools in high school but made an early decision to attend Colby.

“I’m so glad I made that decision,” she said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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