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Unscientific Predictions: 2021-22 Big East Women’s Basketball Preseason Awards

It’s UConn’s world and we’re just living in it.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Elite Eight-Baylor at Connecticut
Given how much attention Paige Bueckers gets, is Christyn Williams underrated?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Hello and welcome to Big East women’s basketball talk. Tomorrow is MEDIA DAY for the league, and so it’s time to chat about how we think the preseason poll is going to turn out. Let’s just jump right in because to a certain extent, I’m pretty sure most people can guess how a lot of this is going to go already.

Preseason Player of the Year: Paige Bueckers, Connecticut

Don’t. Over. Think. These. Things.

Bueckers was POY at the end of last season, and she’s back for her sophomore season. If you’re picking someone else while trying to guess how the coaches voted, you’re just doing it to be weird. If you’re a coach not named Geno Auriemma picking someone other than Paige Bueckers, your athletic director or significant other probably needs to ask if you’re doing okay.

The Huskies star guard led the team in scoring last year at 20.0 points per game when everything was all said and done, which means that she boosted her average after the regular season ended. She also led the team in assists at 5.8 per game and shot 46% from long range. She’s great. I’m looking forward to seeing her at the McGuire Center.

Preseason Freshman of the Year: Azzi Fudd, Connecticut

Don’t. Over. Think. These. Things.

The 5’11” guard from Arlington, Virginia, is the #1 prospect in the entire country according to ESPN and a multiple time USA junior team gold medalist. Let’s all just hand her the hardware and move on with our lives. The only thing standing between Fudd and the postseason version of this trophy is UConn head coach Geno Auriemma’s rotation decisions.

Preseason All-Big East Team

Paige Bueckers, Connecticut
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Seton Hall
Sonya Morris, DePaul
Madison Siegrist, Villanova
Christyn Williams, Connecticut

Don’t. Over. Think. These. Things.

Bueckers is an obvious pick because she’s the preseason POY. She was also one of five unanimous picks on last year’s 10 woman All-Big East First Team at the end of the season, so again: Obvious pick. Morris, Siegrist, and Williams are three of the other four unanimous picks, so clearly they were obvious picks to include here as well since they have returned to their respective teams for the season. The lone non-returning unanimous pick is Marquette’s Selena Lott, which means if I want to keep this to a five woman list, I need to grab one of the five non-unanimous picks from last year’s First Team.

I went with Espinoza-Hunter for a couple of reasons. First, Seton Hall is probably going to be pretty good again this year. Second, she was fourth in the league in scoring in 2020-21 behind Siegrist, Bueckers, and Morris. Seems like a solid move here.

Predicted Order Of Finish

  1. Connecticut
  2. DePaul
  3. Marquette
  4. Seton Hall
  5. Villanova
  6. St. John’s
  7. Creighton
  8. Butler
  9. Providence
  10. Xavier
  11. Georgetown

You start with the Huskies because until they lose a game in league play, they get to be picked first without question.

From there, it’s personal preference. I think DePaul just got caught on a bad end of business late last year, and they’ll jump back to their regular standards this year. Marquette lost a little too much to be the #2 team in this poll again, I think, but my homer-iffic belief in Megan Duffy has them at 3. Seton Hall goes in next since they look to maintain their solid performance from a year ago, and I went with Villanova to round out the top five.

From there, you start to throw darts a little bit. I think St. John’s will be better than they were last year since they weren’t prepared to have Qadashah Hoppie for only eight games. Sure, she’s gone now, but again: They’re prepared for that going forward. Creighton was a mess last year but finished well and that’s probably helpful going forward. The bottom four could go in any order if you really wanted to, but Xavier and Providence are going to be requiring a lot from new faces to have anything approaching success this season.