• UConn WBB Weekly
  • Posts
  • Geno: Paige Bueckers is 'the worst officiated player in America'

Geno: Paige Bueckers is 'the worst officiated player in America'

The coach believes his star player deserves a better whistle.

Photo: Ian Bethune

Welcome to the UConn WBB Weekly, a recap of everything that happened in the world of UConn women’s basketball over the past week from the team that runs The UConn Blog.

Sign up to get the Weekly in your inbox every Thursday or subscribe to get our premium newsletter which includes film breakdowns, analysis, recruiting coverage, and more!


Game coverage


Last week’s Weekly


Geno: Paige Bueckers is "the worst officiated player in America"

In her first season back from injury, Paige Bueckers looks as good as ever. She’s averaging 20.0 points per game while shooting a remarkable 54.8 percent from the floor and 47.4 percent from three. She’s hit the 20-point mark 13 times and has gone over 30+ points twice.

Yet there’s one area of Bueckers’ game that hasn’t changed — and it has nothing to do with her. According to her coach, Bueckers doesn’t get nearly enough foul calls.

“She's the worst officiated great player in America today,” Geno Auriemma said on his radio show last Friday.

Bueckers ranks in the top seven percent nationally in free throw attempts per game at 4.1 and sits in the top eight percent of the country in fouls drawn per game with 3.8, but that’s a product of her usage. To Auriemma’s point, other notable star guards take more. In the Big East, Lucy Olsen leads the league with 5.1 free throws per game. Elsewhere, Hannah Hidalgo is at 6.3 attempts per game, Caitlin Clark averages 6.6 and JuJu Watkins is at 6.8.

That means Bueckers shoots more than two fewer free throws per game than other All-American candidates in the backcourt.

“Every other kid like her, every time somebody comes near them — boom, they go to the free throw line,” Auriemma said. “They let people beat the crap out of Paige.”

It’s not the first time the coach has brought up the topic of fouls when it comes to Bueckers. He’s been calling for her to get a better whistle since the summer after her sophomore season.

“If you watch us play, nobody gets fouled more than she does. Nobody gets bumped off her cuts. Nobody gets hit more,” Auriemma said at the time. “Like every other good player that we've ever had, most of the most of the officials go, ‘Well she can she can handle it.’ And then they don't want to call anything because they don't want to go ‘Oh, that's preferential treatment for Paige.’ No, it's called protecting the guy with the ball.”

The physical play isn’t anything unexpected for Bueckers. Considering how much she dominated as a wiry freshman, that’s how opposing teams have tried to slow her down. After her sophomore year, she stayed on campus all summer to work on getting stronger so she could absorb the contact and physicality better. Entering the current campaign, she prepared for opponents to rough her up.

“I know people this year are gonna test me, push me around, make sure I'm really healthy, make sure my knee’s really good, and use physicality as a weapon against me,” she said during the preseason. “I'm ready for that.”

Bueckers has certainly gotten beat up. She’s been poked in the eye twice and knocked hard to the floor countless times. Even though Bueckers has worked to improve her strength, it’s still not a standout part of her repertoire — and opponents know it.

“I wish she was a little more physical — like, bigger,” Auriemma said on Friday. “I wish she could handle getting hit better.”

Bueckers can’t magically improve in that department overnight, so the coach plans to take matters into his own hands to get her a better whistle.

“That's gonna stop sooner rather than later. I might miss a couple games but that's gonna stop,” he said with a laugh.

Top play

Photo of the week

Photo: Ian Bethune

Best of social media

Lots of funny clips from Sue Bird’s new show on ESPN+:

The alums had fun:

Lots of reunions:

Azzi’s already looking ahead:

So. Many. Injuries.

Who’s the real star here?



or to participate.