(Toronto, On) This season has been one to remember for the University of Connecticut Huskies senior forward Aaliyah Edwards. 

With April’s WNBA draft around the corner, the Kingston, Ontario native has only progressed further with each coming season. 

Edwards has fine-tuned her scoring ability for the Huskies averaging 18 points in 30 minutes per game this season as she continues to climb UConn’s career lists in points. Since averaging 16 points in over 32 minutes per game last season as a junior, her ability to score more efficiently inside the paint has only led to more success. 

Nothing has come easy for the UConn forward, but her consistency to score in big moments has changed the trajectory of this Huskies roster that are 8-2 in their last 10 games. After scoring a career high 33-points against St. John’s earlier this season, the once BIG EAST Sixth-Woman of the Year looks to contend for this year’s BIG EAST Player of the Year award, competing alongside UConn teammate Paige Bueckers.

Despite the increase in scoring, the 6’3” forward has sharpened her ability to rebound, averaging just over 9 rebounds a game this season. Edwards tied her career-high in double-doubles recorded with 14,  after a win against Georgetown earlier this month and is on pace to make history becoming the ninth player in UConn Huskies’ history to record 1,000 rebounds.

Edward’s finished her five game double-double streak against Creighton last Friday, improving the Huskies’ team record to 13-2 when she notches double-digit rebounds. 

With only three games left in the regular season, the Huskies look to finish a dominant season currently atop of the Big East Conference.

Earlier this season,  the Huskies star played her homecoming game against Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in Toronto, where she tallied a stat line of 26 points and 10 rebounds in a decisive 111-34 victory. However it was more than an exhibition game for Edwards, as she hopes it can lead to a bigger impact for women’s basketball in Canada. 

“I encourage everyone to go watch their local team, just women’s basketball in general, in Canada, ” Edwards said. “We really feel the love as student athletes and it really opens opportunities for us down the road. I think having coach being able to put this on, not only for me, is a big step for us.”

The Third-team All-American and 2017 U16 FIBA Americas Championship gold medal winner has plenty of experience in high-intensity games especially with the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament occurring next month.

“One of our focuses is just building onto our strengths and the things we do well because everyday we get better. It is going to lead us for when the time comes in March.” said Edwards who has helped contribute to her team’s current 24-5 record this season. 

We are not really focusing on what we need to get ready for March. First we have the Big East (conference) championship to worry about then the NCAA championship.”

UConn head coach Geno Auriemma believes Edwards has progressed positively since beginning her college career as a freshman. 

“Aaliyah has built on her strengths and she’s acknowledged that she needs to do more,” said Auriemma. “Now she’s addressing these things and it has made her a more complete player. When she plays the way she did the past three or four games, she’s an All-American player. When you come up big like that in big games, it shows you have grown.” 

In attendance was fellow Canadian Senior Women’s National Team player and Huskies alumni Kia Nurse, a person Edwards grew up watching and supporting during her time with UConn.

“To have her on the sidelines and not out on the court is different because I’m used to playing with her on the Canadian team, but it feels like I am setting the path for somebody else to come and create their own destiny with their future, so it was a surreal moment.”

With the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament starting March 20th, Edwards and the Huskies look to redeem themselves after a Sweet Sixteen loss to Ohio State in last year’s tournament.

Notes:

Edwards played her prep/high school basketball at Crestwood Prep in Toronto, capturing OSBA Championships in the process.

Edwards recently inked an NIL deal with Adidas which bodes well for her future endorsement prospects once she goes pro. Check it out!

Photos courtesy Faz Malik/Faz Visions

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