UConn’s Bueckers wins 2020-21 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award

SAN ANTONIO (USBWA) – Freshman Paige Bueckers, the Big East Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year as the leading scorer for the UConn Huskies, has been selected as the winner of the 2020-21 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the USBWA National Player of the Year.

The 5-11 guard from Hopkins, Minn., led the Huskies to their 13th straight Final Four and is the school’s tenth winner and seventh different player to earn the USBWA’s highest individual honor. She is the first freshman to win the award and joins six UConn greats – Breanna Stewart, Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Rebecca Lobo – who have combined for those previous nine awards. Stewart was a three-time winner, while Maya Moore was recognized twice.

Bueckers, a first-team USBWA All-American who shared the Tamika Catchings Award as the national freshman player of the year with Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, led the 28-2 Huskies in scoring (20.0), assists (5.8), steals (66) and three-point field goal percentage (.464) and set a school single-game record with 14 assists record against Butler on Feb. 27. She earned Big East Tournament Most Valuable Player honors and scored 28 points in the Riverwalk Regional Final win over Baylor, earning Regional MVP honors before the Huskies were eliminated Friday night by upstart Arizona in the Final Four.

Twice during the season, she was named the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week. She scored in double figures in all but one game this season and had one stretch of three straight 30-point games. She finished her sensational first season shooting 52.4 percent overall from the field and 86.9 percent from the free-throw line.

“I’d like to congratulate Paige Bueckers on winning the USWBA’s Ann Meyers Drysdale Player of the Year Award,” Ann Meyers Drysdale said. “Paige, you certainly have outperformed your opponents in games where your best was needed. The unselfishness, passion, intensity, and love of the game took you to another level on both ends of the floor and in your overall court play. Wishing you congratulations!”

“Paige’s play on the court had her smashing weekly USBWA awards records early in the season and you could see where she was headed in outdoing some of the previous UConn greats who have received honors from our organization,” said Mel Greenberg, the USBWA women’s representative.

Bueckers will formally accept the award – as well as the Tamika Catchings Award – in a future presentation along with Clark and USBWA National Coach of the Year Tara VanDerveer from Stanford.

The Ann Meyers Drysdale Award is presented annually to the women’s national player of the year by the USBWA. Named for the legendary UCLA guard, the award was first presented in the 1987-88 season and formally named in Meyers Drysdale’s honor in the 2011-12 season. Ann Meyers Drysdale played at UCLA from 1974-78, which pre-dates the USBWA All-America selections. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

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