UConn freshman Paige Bueckers wins Wooden Award

Published on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 20:07
Written by CARL ADAMEC

Journal Inquierer

Paige Bueckers won’t have to wait to have her name on the wall at Gampel Pavilion.

While she won’t be inducted into the Huskies of Honor until her senior year - being named a WBCA All-American will have already earned her a spot - the UConn women’s basketball team’s freshman guard will have her name on the wall alongside the other national Player of the Year winners when the Huskies open the 2021-22 season.

Bueckers completed a sweep of the national honors she was eligible for Monday when she was named the winner of the Wooden Award, which is given out by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

She beat out finalists Aliyah Boston (South Carolina), Dana Evans (Louisville), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky), and NaLyssa Smith (Baylor).

UConn’s national Player of the Year award winners are Rebecca Lobo (1995), Jennifer Rizzotti (1996), Kara Wolters (1997), Sue Bird (2002), Diana Taurasi (2003-04), Maya Moore (2009-11), Tina Charles (2010), and Breanna Stewart (2014-16), and now Bueckers.

Bueckers became the first freshman to win the Associated Press Player of the Year award, the Naismith Trophy, the United States Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year honor, and the Wooden Award. As a freshman, she was ineligible for the WBCA’s Wade Trophy that went to Baylor’s Smith.

The 5-foot-11 Minnesota native is the first UConn freshman to average 20.0 points per game and set a school freshman single-season record with 168 assists. Her 36.2 minutes per game broke the 29-year school record of Wendy Davis (36.0).

In Big East rankings, the conference Player and Freshman of the Year was second in scoring (20.0), first in assists (5.8), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3), third in steals (2.3), sixth in field-goal percentage (52.4), third in free-throw percentage (86.9), and first in 3-point percentage (46.4).

She’s the first UConn player to have three straight 30-point games (Feb. 3-8) and set a school single-game record of 14 assists against Butler Feb. 27.

Bueckers was also the Big East Tournament and NCAA River Walk Regional Most Outstanding Player, and was selected to the Final Four all-tournament team. The Huskies finished 28-2, losing to Arizona in the national semifinals Friday.

Posted in The Bristol Press, UConn on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 20:07. Updated: Tuesday, 6 April 2021 20:09.