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Diana Taurasi: UConn squad could ‘be one of the most exciting’ ever

Diana Taurasi speaks with UConn coach Geno Auriemma in 2016. (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)

Diana Taurasi is excited to see what UConn basketball can do with a healthy Paige Bueckers.

The 21-year-old guard missed last season with an ACL tear, but she officially has been cleared to return for the 2023-24 season. And Taurasi believes the Huskies and the sport will be better with Bueckers on the court.

“I think the game has missed Paige,” Taurasi said Thursday. The Phoenix Mercury guard is in Connecticut to face the Sun at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, though she is questionable to play with a left toe injury.

And while the 41-year-old Taurasi is nearing the end of her WNBA career, she is keeping her eye on Bueckers and the next generation of stars.

“With who’s going 1 or 2 (in the draft), it’ll be exciting. I’ll be watching very closely,” she said. Bueckers, who will enter the season as a redshirt junior, could declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft, but she also will have two years of eligibility remaining.

UConn will look to capitalize on the return of Bueckers coupled with a healthy Azzi Fudd, who missed much of last season with her own knee injuries. Taurasi, who won three NCAA titles with the Huskies from 2000-04, has high expectations for this year’s squad.

“This team, that hopefully will be healthy going into the season, has a chance to be one of the most exciting teams that we’ve ever seen,” Taurasi said. “As a fan and obviously alumni now, I’m excited to see it.”