Former El Campo Ladybird basketball standout Natalia Terrell had tried out with Victoria College and was planning on continuing her playing career there. With classes starting on Monday, she was getting ready for the next stage of her life, college.
However, a phone call changed everything and now she’ll play for Western Texas this upcoming season instead.
“We had got settled and everything at Victoria and that’s where I thought I was going until a week later Coach V (Gabe Villarreal) got a call from Western Texas and I was offered an opportunity to play and I was given a whole night to think about it,” Terrell said.
The decision for Terrell ended up being an easy one. With Victoria, she wasn’t on a scholarship and with Western Texas, she would get one. The biggest hangup for Terrell was going so far from home, but the chance to play for a bigger school and against better competition wasn’t something she was going to pass up.
Since the end of last season, Terrell had been waiting for an offer to come. Colleges kept looking into her, but nothing ended up materializing, pushing her farther and farther into the summer without a place to play or go to school.
“There were so many different options that didn’t work out,” Terrell said. “When one door closed another one opened. When that door closed another door opened. I felt like everything just happened at the last minute for a reason.”
Western Texas Junior College is getting an All-State player and the District 25 MVP. Last year for the Ladybirds, Terrell averaged a double-double throughout the season. In district, Terrell impressed so much last season, Sealy Lady Tiger girls basketball Head Coach Anthony Branch reached out to Western Texas and vouched for Terrell’s skills.
Terrell started for the Ladybirds in her freshmen year, which coincided with Villarreal’s first year as a head coach. Through her time with the Ladybirds, Villarreal saw Terrell improve every season. Last year she was the leader of an undefeated district championship team that won 30 games and went three rounds deep in the playoffs.
Terrell is the first player in Villarreal’s four seasons to go off and play basketball in college on a scholarship.
“I’m just excited for the fact she gets to continue to do what she loves to do,” Villarreal said. “Somebody saw in her what we (knew) she had. I think she’s going to do great things. It’s exciting because she was the first for a lot. She was my first district-MVP. My first All-Region player. My first All-State player. Just seeing her be rewarded means a lot.”
In high school, Terrell played post for the Ladybirds, but this year with Western Texas will be asked to play more of the short-corner. Western Texas a junior college and plays in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. They went 6-19 last year, but still sent two players off four-year colleges.
“I’m really happy I chose to take this opportunity and go out there and start a new journey in life,” Terrell said.