Four current and former UConn players have been nominated for 2021 ESPYs.
Breanna Stewart is in contention for both Best Athlete (Women’s Sports) and best WNBA Player while Crystal Dangerfield is a candidate for Best Breakthrough Athlete. Andre Blake is one of four players in the mix for Best MLS Player.
Paige Bueckers — the only current UConn player on the ballot — is nominated in the category of Best College Athlete (Women’s Sports).
Last season, Stewart came back from a torn achilles and won her second WNBA title (and finals MVP) with the Seattle Storm. She averaged 19.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while finishing second in the voting for the league’s regular MVP award.
While Stewart returned to her previously dominant self, Dangerfield took the WNBA by storm. After shockingly falling into the second round, the Minnesota Lynx selected her with the 16th overall pick and she went on to become the first non-first rounder to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award.
Back at UConn, Bueckers compiled the greatest freshman season in college basketball history. She averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game along with 46.4 percent mark from three while leading the Huskies to the Final Four.
Bueckers became the first freshman to win the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, AP National Player of the Year, USBWA National Player of the Year, and Nancy Lieberman Award while also taking home Big East Freshman and Player of the Year along with First Team All-American honors from the AP, Wooden Award, USBWA, and WBCA. She was also named co-freshman of the year by the USBWA and WBCA.
Meanwhile, Blake had the best season of his professional career, winning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2020 while helping the Philadelphia Union win the Supporter’s Shield, given to the team with the best record in the regular season.
In 2020, the ESPYs were hosted by Sue Bird alongside Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson. In a shift, the awards handed out were for activism and humanitarian efforts during the pandemic as opposed to sporting achievements. Former UConn women’s basketball player Batouly Camara was one of the recipients of the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award for her work with Women and Kids Empowerment, a non-profit organization she started.
During the 2019 ESPYs, Jim Calhoun was honored with the Best Coach award while Stewart took home Best WNBA Player.
The 2021 ESPYs will be held on July 10 at 10 p.m. on ABC, hosted by actor Anthony Mackie.