Angela Mele-Craig is Western Connecticut State University’s all-time leading scorer and a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame and that’s only the beginning of an extraordinary career in which Mele-Craig led the Colonials to the postseason in all four seasons and to three consecutive Division III NCAA tournament appearances.
As a senior in 1990, Mele-Craig earned Kodak All-America honors, averaging 15.9 points per game during a season in which Western finished 24-3, reaching the NCAA New England Regional final before falling in overtime. Mele-Craig, a guard, still holds program records for points (1,597), field goals (712) and field goal attempts (1,565) and is fifth all-time in steals with 247. She was a three-time AWSF All-America honoree. With their NCAA tournament appearance in 1988, that began a string of seven straight appearances for the Colonials.
“My friend and I tried out for the basketball team in fifth grade,” Mele-Craig said of her start in the sport. “We made the team and I’ve been interested ever since. ... It’s where I made long-lasting friendships with teammates and played in front of family and fans.”
Mele-Craig scored 1,210 points at Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, N.J., shooting 81% from the free throw line. A 1986 graduate, she led Pascack Valley to four league championships and a state title under legendary coach Jeff Jasper, who has coached all 50 seasons in the program’s history and became the first girls’ basketball coach in New Jersey history to eclipse 1,000 wins.
“Mr. Jasper, my high school coach was the greatest influence in my career,” said Mele-Craig, who earned all-state and all-county honors at Pascack Valley and was inducted into the high school’s hall of fame. “He taught me the fundamentals of basketball. He taught me teamwork, winning, sportsmanship and maturity.”
Mele-Craig will be presented for induction into the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame by another of her role models, fellow hall of famer Jody Rajcula, the former longtime coach at Western Connecticut — “Her guidance, encouragement and respect helped me into becoming a better person,” Mele-Craig said.
Mele-Craig is a resident of South Amboy, N.J., where she is employed as a massage therapist. She graduated from Western Connecticut in 1991 with a degree in sociology/anthropology and played basketball professionally in Alvesta, Sweden. She enjoys walking, hiking, meditation, volunteering at swim meets and spending time with her family.