For two-time All-American Abby Dietsche, basketball has always been more than just a game.
The North Arkansas College sophomore said the sport has been about perseverance, friendship, humility, toughness, commitment and a host of other characteristics it takes to be successful on the court.
“The thing I love about basketball is all of the things it has brought me,” she said. “I have made so many friends and had many mentors. Basketball has taught me many life lessons.”
The Highland, Arkansas native ends her Lady Pioneer career on a high note. This season, she averaged 16.3 points per game and grabbed 6.7 rebounds per game. The 6’1 forward was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All -Region First Team and All-American Second Team in the 2021-2022 season and All-Region First Team and All-American Third Team in the 2022-2023 season.
“Being a two-time All-American is definitely an honor,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work, and I never could have done it without my teammates over the past two years here. I spent a lot of extra time in the gym working on skills and the mental part of the game, and I am blessed to be recognized for it.”
Northark Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Bobby Howard said when Dietsche first arrived on campus, he told her she had the potential to be an All-American player.
“There are not many that come in the gym on their own, but Abby was one of them,” he said. “Through her work, the conference coaches rewarded her with All Region honors two years in a row, and nationally she was selected All-American two years in a row. That is a hard thing to accomplish.”
Dietsche said Coach Howard’s fiery passion for the sport was one of the main reasons she chose to play basketball at Northark.
“I chose Northark because it was closer to home, and I love the environment of a smaller school,” she said. “Bobby Howard is also a great coach, and I was all about getting to experience playing for him.”
One of Dietsche’s favorite memories at Northark was playing rival Arkansas State University Mid-South last season. The Lady Greyhounds always have a strong team and anytime the two teams meet, it is a wild, physical game.
“When they came to our place for homecoming, the energy in our gym was amazing with the baseball boys as our student section and all the people there for homecoming as well,” she said. “We beat them by 15 or more that game.”
Dietsche’s future plans include earning her associate of arts degree and pursuing a personal training career in Fayetteville.
Howard said Dietsche is a good person on and off the court and he knows she will be successful in her future endeavors.
“Abby is always smiling and likes to have a good time. She thinks she is funny,” he said with a laugh. “I am proud of her accomplishments, and she has continued the long line of Lady Pioneer tradition.”