(Kansas City, Mo.) – Even after graduating, former UMKC student-athlete Eilise O'Connor is continuing to add to her list of accolades, as the San Francisco, Calif., native has been selected by the WAC as its nomination for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year.
“I am beyond humbled to represent the WAC for the NCAA Woman of the Year,” O’Connor said. “By no means, however, would I call this solely an individual honor. This recognition speaks volumes to the culture and tradition that is being built by the UMKC women's basketball program and the UMKC athletics department as a whole. When you establish an environment that truly fosters athletes beyond the playing field, such recognition ensues. I owe this honor to everyone from professors to coaches to administrators who help make UMKC not only my alma mater but my home.”
The Woman of the Year award honors graduating female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership, with a total of 446 nominations across all divisions.
Each conference then selects up to two women from the nominees to represent the conference. The Woman of the Year selection committee selects the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division – from the conference nominees.
From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three in each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will then vote from among the finalists to determine the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The top 30 honorees will be honored, and the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 19.
“What a tremendous honor for Eilise and all those who contributed to her success while at UMKC,” UMKC Women’s Basketball Head Coach Marsha Frese said. “She has been extremely fortunate to be supported by so many tremendous mentors in her four years here, not only in the UMKC community, but the city itself. Ultimately, though, it was Eilise’s drive and dedication to not only her own success, but also those around her that made her such a special student-athlete. I am thrilled that she continues to be recognized for everything she has meant to UMKC and especially our women’s basketball program.”
Along with the WAC’s nomination for 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year, O’Connor has also garnered First Team Academic All-American honors, been awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, been named a semi-finalist for the Senior C.L.A.S.S. Award, been named to the WBCA Allstate Good Works Team, earned Academic All-WAC recognition and named to the 12th Annual Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team and awarded its Postgraduate Scholarship.
She has been a member of UMKC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for three years, including serving as President this past season, while volunteering her time at Operation Breakthrough, Morning Glory Cafe Soup Kitchen, Berkeley School, St. Peter’s Basketball Clinic and Boys & Girls Club.
On the court, she was named Second Team All-WAC after leading the conference in scoring and finishing 23rd nationally at 21.4 ppg. In her career, O’Connor ranks second in school history in scoring (1,777) and assists (479), while setting the school record for free throws in a game, season and career.