UConn star Paige Bueckers became the first freshman to be named The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year on Wednesday after a phenomenal season and helping the Huskies to another Final Four.
Bueckers has emerged as the latest Huskies star under coach Geno Auriemma. The 19-year-old Minnesota native received 21 votes from the 30-member media panel. Louisville star Dana Evans was second in the voting with four votes.
“It’s amazing, surreal for people to think of me that highly and to be in that position as a freshman,” Bueckers said. “To get this award, I’m extremely humbled and grateful.”
Bueckers was informed she won the award Monday. Reaction poured in on social media as her win was officially announced.
“A lot has happened over the past year things that could bring people down. To get a reward and find something positive in these times, you cherish them. I was there with my teammates and coaching staff and to get that award with them around me makes you be so grateful for the position I’m in,” she said.
Former UConn standouts Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart won the award as sophomores. Each of the other winners have been juniors or seniors. She is the 12th Huskies player to win the award in all.
“That’s crazy to think about, all the great college players who ever played. The great freshmen who had done great things in their first year in college basketball. It really is surreal that it’s never been done before,” she said.
Bueckers is averaging 20.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game this season. She is the only UConn player to score 30 or more points in three consecutive games and had a school-record in points scored for a debut with 24 against High Point.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.