UConn women’s basketball’s Paige Bueckers and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark duked it out in an epic Sweet 16 battle earlier this week. Now, they’re sharing the stage as they’re recognized for their stellar freshmen seasons.
Both Bueckers and Clark were are the co-winners of the 2021 WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Monday.
“Freshmen Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark thrilled college basketball fans throughout the 2020-21 season. Both exhibited the energy, enthusiasm, effort and effectiveness that are the hallmark pillars every coach hopes their first-year student-athletes will contribute to the team,” said WBCA executive director Danielle Donehew in a statement. “I am pleased to announce Paige and Caitlin as the co-winners of the WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year award presented by adidas. We look forward to watching these two phenomenal players for years to come.”
Bueckers averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game as well as a 47.4 3-point field goal percentage in the regular season. In San Antonio, Bueckers is averaging 22.5 points on 47.0 percent shooting (36.8 percent on 3s), 4.5 assists, 2.5 steals and just 2.0 turnovers per game.
Clark finished her season — which culminated in a 92-72 loss to UConn in the regional semifinal — averaging 26.6 points on 47.2 percent shooting (40.6 percent on 3s), 5.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. As a freshman, she was the nation’s top scorer.
Bueckers has previously been named Big East Player and Freshman of the Year, Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Associated Press First Team All-American, Wooden Award All-American and finalist, Naismith Trophy finalist and NCAA Tournament River Walk Region Most Outstanding Player.
For more of The Courant’s Bueckers coverage:
Click here for our ultimate guide to all things Bueckers
Click here for our by-the-numbers breakdown of Bueckers’ season
Alexa Philippou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org