ATLANTA (March 30, 2021) — Paige Bueckers of Connecticut and Caitlin Clark of Iowa are the co-winners of the 2021 WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year presented by adidas, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced today.
The Freshman of the Year award honors the best NCAA Division I women’s basketball freshman or redshirt freshman. All conference freshman players of the year in NCAA Division I are considered for the award. If a conference does not select a freshman player of the year, the conference office can nominate one player to be considered.
“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. “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, a 5-foot-11 guard, has powered Connecticut to a 28-1 record and their record 13th-straight Women’s Final Four. She led the Huskies during the regular season with 19.7 points, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game as well as a 47.4 three-point field goal percentage. The Hopkins, Minnesota, native is the first player to be named BIG EAST Player and Freshman of the Year and the BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Clark, a 6-foot guard from West Des Moines, Iowa, led the Hawkeyes to a 20-9 record and the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2021 NCAA Championship. She averaged 26.7 points, 7.2 assists, 3.8 three-pointers and shot 47 percent from the field during the regular season. Heading into the NCAA tournament, Clark led the nation in total points (720), points per game (26.7), total assists (195), and three-pointers made (103). The Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Clark was a unanimous first team All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection. She was also named a member of the Big Ten All-Tournament team.
Bueckers and Clark are both finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and WBCA to the nation’s best shooting guard.
“The WBCA and adidas are pleased to recognize the important contribution of first-year student-athletes and to present the WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year award to Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark,” said Jim Murphy, senior director NCAA, adidas Team Sports.
This is the sixth year of the WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year award.
Visit www.wbca.org/recognize/ to see a list of past recipients.
About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association is the professional association for coaches of women's and girls' basketball at all levels of competition. The WBCA offers educational resources that coaches need to help make themselves better leaders, teachers and mentors to their players; provides opportunities for coaches to connect with peers in the profession; serves as the unifying voice of a diverse community of coaches to the organizations that control the game; and celebrates those coaches, players and other individuals who excel each year and contribute to the advancement of the sport. Visit WBCA.org for more details about the association.
# # #