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Paige Bueckers becomes first woman to win Wooden award as a freshman

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Paige Bueckers' season ended two wins short of the ultimate goal.

But the individual honors continue to pour in. On Monday, the UConn guard was named the winner of the John R. Wooden Award honoring college basketball's most outstanding player. The honor arrives days after Bueckers was named the Associated Press Player of the Year

Bueckers is the first freshman woman to win either award. 

"It's a blessing," Bueckers told ESPN Monday when the news broke. "It means everything to me just to be able to win these individual awards, but it's a true testament to our whole team and everything that they've done for me."

Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers (5) plays against Butler during the first quarter of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The honors continue to roll in for Paige Bueckers. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

A 5-11 guard, Bueckers averaged 20 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals while shooting 52.4% from the field and 46.4% from 3-point distance. She led the Huskies to a 28-2 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. UConn's second loss of the season arrived on Friday to Arizona in the national semifinals.

Will Bueckers win multiple Wooden Awards?

Bueckers is a top WNBA prospect, but won't be permitted to declare for the draft until she turns 22, per league rules. So she'll be back next season to compete again for a championship and a second Wooden Award in two years. 

Since women became eligible for the Wooden Award in 2003, six players have won it twice — LSU's Seimone Augustus, Tennessee's Candace Parker, UConn's Maya Moore, Baylor's Brittney Griner, UConn's Breanna Stewart and Oregon's Sabrina Ionsescu. Nobody has won it three times.

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