Rachel Backes Selected as NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee
ST. LOUIS -- Recent Westminster College graduate Rachel Backes, has been selected as a NCAA Woman of the Year nominee by the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
Backes, a four-year letter winner on the Blue Jays women's basketball team, was part of teams that compiled a school record 67 victories. She played and started in an individual career-record 101 games, and she concludes her career fourth in career scoring with 1,203 points, 11th in career rebounding with 392 rebounds and third in career assists with 295.
A four-time all-conference selection, Backes was named SLIAC Player of the Year her junior season and became the first-ever All-American in Blue Jay program history. She guided her team to back-to-back SLIAC titles the past two seasons and the 2011-12 team won the conference tournament title to become the first Blue Jay women's team to qualify for the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Backes graduated with honors with a degree in biology, was a Dean's List student and a member of Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society. She earned Scholar Athlete of the Year honors from the SLIAC this year and was three times named to the SLIAC All-Academic Team. Other academic achievements include Alpha Chi Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta (Freshmen Honor Society) and Capital One Academic All-District Second Team.
In her four years at Westminster Backes held numerous leadership positions. In addition to being a four-year team captain of the women's basketball team, she also served as a board member on the Athletic Department Strategic Planning Committee and Female Student-Athlete Committee. Outside of athletics Backes served as the President of Omicron Delta Kappa and held several positions within Kappa Kappa Gamma. She was also a Student Ambassador and a three-year member of Student Foundations.
Backes also stood out in her service to the community and campus. She participated in several continuing service projects all four years, including Missouri School for the Deaf (MSD), Special Olympics, Adopt-A-Family, Into the Streets, (K)lean the Forest and Kappa Kappa Gamma Easter Egg Hunt. Backes also served as a tutor at Tipton Elementary School and took part in WestMO for Hope.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award program encourages each institution to honor its top graduating female student-athlete with the nomination and community recognition. Other nominees from within the SLIAC include Principia College women's basketball player, Lindsay Sydness, and Greenville College softball player Lindsey Schuberth.
Conference offices are responsible for assessing each nominee's eligibility and selecting a conference nominee based on collective achievements in the areas noted. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA), who manages the nomination process and selections, chooses the top 10 honorees in each division. From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year.
All honorees receive an NCAA certificate and are included in press announcements. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis, Ind., on October 14, 2012.