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NIACC’s Mendez is ICCAC female athlete of the year


This news story was published on May 22, 2020.
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Autam Mendez

MASON CITY – Another honor for NIACC’s Autam Mendez.

Mendez, who is from St. Paul, Minn., put the wraps on her illustrious NIACC basketball career by being selected as the 2019-20 ICCAC female athlete of the year on Wednesday.

“Autam is a great player and person,” NIACC coach Todd Ciochetto said. “She battled through injury to become the player she is today.

“There is nothing Autam cannot do on the floor. She is special both on and off the floor.”

The other two finalists for the ICCAC top female athlete were Indian Hills soccer player Emily Murphy and Iowa Central’s cross country/half marathon runner Winrose Chisang.

Murphy, who scored 34 goals, was a second-team NJCAA all-American. Chisang placed fourth at NJCAA Division I cross country championships and claimed the NJCAA half-marathon national championship.

Mendez, who was selected as the ICCAC women’s basketball player of the week three times in 2019-20, helped guide the Lady Trojans to the top of the national rankings in February.

She helped lead the Lady Trojans to the ICCAC regular season title.

She was an all-tournament selection as the Lady Trojans won the NJCAA Region XI tournament for the second straight season.

She was the ICCAC women’s basketball player of the year.

She was a first-team NJCAA Division II all-American and was selected as the the NJCAA Division II national player of the year – a first for a NIACC women’s basketball player.

Mendez, who will play next season at San Jose State University, averaged 16.9 points per game. She scored a career-high 48 points, including 11 3-point goals, against Little Priest Tribal College on Feb. 26.

Mendez, who scored 489 points, connected on 81 3-point goals with 245 rebounds, 64 steals and 55 assists. She also recorded 12 double/doubles in her sophomore campaign.

Mendez ranks third on the school’s career scoring list with 1,045 points, third on the school’s career 3-point list with 164 and third on the school’s career rebounding list with 538.

She is the only player in school history with 1,000 career points, 500 career rebounds and 100 career 3-point goals.

Outside of basketball, Mendez participated in Ball for All, a basketball program for children with special needs. She was also active in the North Iowa Fire AAU program and served as a mentor to fifth and sixth graders at Lincoln School.

Mendez is the third recepient of the ICCAC female athlete of the year award.

In the 2018-19 season, NIACC women’s basketball player Mandy Willems was an ICCAC female athlete of the year finalist. DMACC softball player Mia Ruther was the 2018-19 ICCAC female athlete of the year.

The 2017-18 winner was DMACC softball player Molly Jacobsen.

Iowa Lakes’ men’s basketball player Justin Brookens was selected as the 2019-20 ICCAC men’s male athlete of the year.

Mendez’ 2019-20 season highs

Points – 48 vs. Little Priest Tribal College (2-26-20)
Rebounds – 17 vs. Little Priest Tribal College (2-26-20)
Assists – 8 vs. Little Priest Tribal College (1-8-20)
Steals – 7 vs. Iowa Lakes (1-15-20)
Mendez’ career highs
Points – 48 vs. Little Priest Tribal College (2-26-20)
Rebounds – 17, twice.
Assists – 8 vs. Little Priest Tribal College (1-8-20)
Steals –  7 vs. Iowa Lakes (1-15-20)

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