Female Athlete of the Year: Nicole Evans, softball

Female Athlete of the Year: Nicole Evans, softball

— Evans helped guide Illinois back to the NCAA tournament for consecutive seasons by leading the team in batting average, slugging, on-base percentage, RBI, home runs, total bases and walks this spring.

— Her 18 home runs, 58 RBI, 131 total bases and .775 slugging percentage in her senior season vaulted her into the No. 1 spot on Illinois' career leader list in each statistical category.

— The Glen Ellyn native wasn't just a menace at the plate, either. The Illini outfielder posted a .979 fielding percentage with 93 putouts and just two errors.

— Evans was recognized for her softball achievements with NFCA third-team All-America honors to go with Big Ten All-Defensive Team and unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections.

— Off the field, Evans was an CoSIDA Academic All-American, a Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient and the winner of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sports Scholar Athlete of the Year award. All that also has her in the running for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, which will be announced Oct. 22.

Past Female Athletes of the Year

YEAR — ATHLETE, SPORT

2016 — Jocelynn Birks, volleyball

2015 — Stephanie Richartz, track and field

2014 — Jannelle Flaws, soccer

2013 — Ashley Spencer, track and field

2012 — Vanessa DiBernardo, soccer

2011 — Vanessa DiBernardo, soccer

2010 — Angela Bizzarri, cross-country/track and field

2009 — Angela Bizzarri, cross-country/track and field

2008 — Angelena Mexicano, softball

2007 — Yvonne Mensah, track and field

2006 — Jenna Hall, softball

2005 — Tara Hurless, soccer

2004 — Lisa Argabright, volleyball

2003 — Perdita Felicien, track and field

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