Acting as the perfect compliment to super-scorer Jackie Motycka, Paulette Backstrom used her ball handling skills to help guide the women’s basketball team to three straight MAC championships in the late 1980’s, earning national recognition in the process.
Though never averaging double figures in points for a season, Backstrom increased her scoring output each year, averaging just under nine points a game her junior and senior year, averaging 8.9 points and 7.2 assists per game in her final year at BG. Those numbers were enough to earn her national honors as the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, as the best female player in the country under 5-foot-6. She set a school record for assists during conference play with 124 that year, and finished her career in second place on the all-time assists list at Bowling Green, with 559.
Led by seniors Backstrom, Motycka and Megan McGuire, with help from junior Angie Bonner, the Falcons won their third consecutive MAC tournament title in 1989, and Backstrom was named MVP of the tournament to go with her All-MAC first team honors during the regular season. That team’s 69-59 win over Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament remains the only NCAA Tournament win in the program’s history.
Backstrom was inducted into the BG Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
(Information taken from 1995-96 BGSU Women’s Media Guide.)