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UConn women’s basketball cleans up yearly Big East awards

Paige Bueckers becomes the second player in conference history to win the Player and Freshman of the Year while Geno Auriemma claims Coach of the Year.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 27 Women’s UConn at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In their first season back in the Big East, UConn women’s basketball cleaned the conference’s year-end awards. Paige Bueckers earned Big East Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, Aaliyah Edwards picked up Big East Sixth Woman of the Year, Olivia Nelson-Ododa was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and Geno Auriemma won Coach of the Year.

Bueckers and Christyn Williams were unanimous picks for the All-Big East First Team while Nelson-Ododa made the All-Big East Second Team. Bueckers and Edwards were also unanimously selected to the All-Freshman squad.

Auriemma won conference coach of the year for the 17th time in his career and the 11th time in the Big East. He guided UConn to a perfect 18-0 record in the league — the eighth consecutive year the Huskies have gone undefeated in conference play — en route to the program’s 27th regular-season conference title.

Bueckers becomes just the 16th Husky to win a conference player of the year award and the 15th UConn player to take home freshman of the year. She’s only the second player in Big East history ever to win both awards, joining Maya Moore.

The Minnesota native averaged 19.5 points, 6.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game and shot exactly 50 percent from beyond the arc in Big East play. Bueckers won Big East Freshman of the Week eight times and also become the first freshman ever to win the conference’s player of the week award twice. This is the eighth year in a row a UConn player has nabbed the conference player of the year award.

Williams joined Bueckers on the All-Conference First Team after averaging 16.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists against conference opponents this season.

Nelson-Ododa was named the Big East’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year alongside Marquette’s Selena Lott. Nelson-Ododa wrapped up Big East play with 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while leading the conference with 40 blocks (1.8 per game). Surprisingly, the junior only made the All-Big East Second Team.

Edwards took home Big East Sixth Player of the Year and was also named to the All-Freshman team after leading the league with a 70.4 field goal percentage. She also averaged 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in conference play.

UConn will open the Big East Tournament on Saturday at noon against the winner of No. 8 St. John’s and No. 9 Xavier.