- UConn WBB Weekly
- The Aftermath: Paige Bueckers is becoming a legend
The Aftermath: Paige Bueckers is becoming a legend
Even Geno is feeding into the Paige Bueckers hype.
Photo: Ian Bethune
For a moment, UConn women’s basketball’s entire world felt like it hung in the balance. Paige Bueckers was on the floor holding her left knee — the same one that kept her out for most of the last two seasons — after taking a charge.
As Geno Auriemma walked onto the floor to check on her, he didn’t know what to think.
“I think if it was something really serious, I think we would have seen a different reaction from Paige. I could tell when I went out there just by how she was — but it didn't make me feel any better. Let's put it that way,” he told reporters postgame. “I was also prepared myself like, ‘She's not gonna play the rest of the game.’ But yeah, your mind goes to bad places.”
Bueckers went to the bench, where she rubbed in the inside of her right knee and eventually put an ice pack on it.
“It was knee-to-knee contact so it really hurts in the moment but you know when you go down, you’re gonna be alright,” she told SNY postgame.
Bueckers even cleared herself for play and tried to check back into the game.
“It doesn't take her long to recover,” Auriemma said. “She just walked up to me, I'm standing there, out of nowhere she just walked up to me near the scorer’s table and was checking herself in. I said, ‘Where the hell are you going?’ She said, ‘I’m good to go.’ I said, ‘You’re good to go when I say you’re good to go, sit down.’”
By the time the final buzzer sounded on UConn’s 85-59 win at Marquette, Bueckers had put any lingering worries to rest. She finished with 26 points, shot 4-of-5 from three, and added five assists, two steals, and two blocks for good measure.
It is the latest all-around performance from Bueckers that, in the words of her coach, brings her ever closer to legendary status in Storrs.
“Players that have become somewhat legendary, they have two things that they do. One, whoever they assigned to guard her can’t guard her. And whoever she guards can’t score. So when you can put those two things together, then you become the kind of person that can help you win championships, win games,” Auriemma explained.
“She wants that because you look around the country, the average kid that scores a lot of points, they think it's somebody else's job to guard the other team's best player. So I'm really proud of her. She wants that challenge.”
Bueckers is also doing it consistently. During UConn’s 13-game win streak, she’s scored at least 20 points eight times, grabbed at least three rebounds 10 times, and has a steal in all but one.
"You watch her every day and it's like a broken record. We say the same things every time: The impact that she has on the game, her clutch buckets, the defense she provides for us,” Auriemma said. “All the things that we do revolve around her. She makes the whole thing work.”
On a day when the team announced that Caroline Ducharme won’t return this year — a fifth UConn player out for the season — Bueckers showed that as long as she remains healthy, the Huskies will be okay.
“We’re good for a reason,” Auriemma told SNY postgame.
Play of the night
Subscribe to Premium Membership to read the rest.
Become a paying subscriber of Premium Membership to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.
Already a paying subscriber? Sign In