Paige Bueckers among five UConn Huskies in Top 50 preseason candidates for 2022 Wooden Award


Sophomore Paige Bueckers, the 2021 John R. Wooden Award winner, is one of five UConn Huskies on the Wendy’s Top 50 Wooden Award list of preseason candidates for the 2021-22 women’s college basketball season.

Seniors Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa, sophomore Aaliyah Edwards, and freshman Azzi Fudd join Bueckers on the list, which was announced Tuesday, the opening day of the new season. Fudd is the only freshman among the 50 candidates.

Last April, Bueckers became the first freshman to win the award — which is given annually to the top women’s college basketball player in the country — after leading the Huskies in points (20.0), assists (5.8) and steals (2.3) per game. Bueckers was the consensus national player of the year last season, winning the Associated Press Player of the Year honor and the Naismith Trophy.

Baylor senior forward NaLyssa Smith, who won the 2021 Wade Trophy, is one of three Baylor players on the list, joined by Bears Queen Egbo and Jordan Lewis.

No. 1 South CarolinaAliyah Boston, Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson — and reigning NCAA champion StanfordCameron Brink, Lexie Hull and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Haley Jones — also have three people on the Wooden preseason list.

Bueckers was just the second underclassman to win the Wooden Award, which was first handed out in women’s college basketball in 2003-04.

A complete look at the Wooden Award preseason top 50:

Shakira Austin, Ole Miss, 6-5, sr., C
Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast, 6-1, jr., G
Grace Berger, Indiana, 6-0, sr., G
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina, 6-5, jr., F
Cameron Brink, Stanford, 6-4, so., F
Leigha Brown, Michigan, 6-1, sr., G
Jakia Brown-Turner, NC State, 6-0, jr., G
Paige Bueckers, UConn, 5-11, so., G
Rae Burrell, Tennessee, 6-1, sr., G/F
Veronica Burton, Northwestern, 5-9, sr., G
Caitlin Clark, Iowa, 6-0, so., G
Nia Clouden, Michigan State, 5-8, sr., G
Zia Cooke, South Carolina, 5-9, jr., G
Lorela Cubaj, Georgia Tech, 6-4, sr., F
Elissa Cunane, NC State, 6-5, sr., C
Monika Czinano, Iowa, 6-3, sr., F/C
Aaliyah Edwards, UConn, 6-3, so., F
Queen Egbo, Baylor, 6-3, sr., C
Azzi Fudd, UConn, 5-11, fr., G
Vivian Gray, Texas Tech, 6-1, sr., G
Anastasia Hayes, Mississippi State, 5-7, sr., G
Lauren Heard, TCU, 5-9, sr., G
Destanni Henderson, South Carolina, 5-7, sr., G
Naz Hillmon, Michigan, 6-2, sr., F
Mya Hollingshed, Colorado, 6-3, sr., F
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky, 6-2, sr., G
Lexie Hull, Stanford, 6-1, sr., G
Rickea Jackson, Mississippi State, 6-2, jr., F
Ashley Joens, Iowa State, 6-1, sr., G/F
Haley Jones, Stanford, 6-1, jr., G
Taylor Jones, Oregon State, 6-4, so., F
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech, 6-6, jr., C
Lotta-Maj Lathinen, Georgia Tech, 5-9, sr., G
Ayoka Lee, Kansas State, 6-6, jr., C
Charlisse Leger-Walker, Washington State, 5-10, so., G
Jordan Lewis, Baylor, 5-7, sr., G
Diamond Miller, Maryland, 6-3, jr., G
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn, 6-5, sr., F
Charisma Osborne, UCLA, 5-9, jr., G
Ashley Owusu, Maryland, 6-0, jr., G
Te-Hina Paopao, Oregon, 5-9, so., G
Alissa Pili, USC, 6-0, jr., F
Khayla Pointer, LSU, 5-7, sr., G
Nyara Sabally, Oregon, 6-5, jr., F
Myah Selland, South Dakota State, 6-1, jr., F
Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech, 5-9, sr., G
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, 6-4, sr., F
Hailey Van Lith, Louisville, 5-7, so., G
Maddy Westbeld, Notre Dame, 6-3, so., F
Christyn Williams, UConn, 5-11, sr., G



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