Once again, UConn basketball is navigating major injuries.
This season, though, the Huskies are doing so with Paige Bueckers on the court instead of on the sidelines – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges.
Already UConn is dealing with two season-ending injuries to Azzi Fudd and Jana El Alfy. Ayanna Patterson and Caroline Ducharme also are sidelined.
As a result, Bueckers has been tasked with playing multiple roles. And while she’s the best player UConn has, it’s taking some time for her teammates to adjust both to having her back in the lineup and to her playing new positions.
“We’re not completely there yet on how to seamlessly incorporate all the other people with the way Paige wants to play. And I don’t know when that will be 100% like I like it,” head coach Geno Auriemma said Sunday, as reported by CT Insider. “Right now, we just have to go with what we got and hope that every game we can get more contributions from more people.”
That means better off-ball movement around Bueckers, who runs the offense for UConn.
“We have to find a way to get more people consistently engaged around her,” Auriemma continued. “If she’s not getting enough assists, that means we’re not doing a good job moving without the ball because she would find you if we are, and that’s been a serious problem for this team for quite some time now.”
Through nine games, Auriemma has experimented with six different starting lineups. It’s about the Huskies attempting to “mix and match and find our way,” according to Auriemma. But eventually, he trusts, the team will figure it out.
“We’re all still trying to figure out how to play together as a basketball team and get sort of a chemistry within each other,” Bueckers said. “We’re all just trying to figure out how to be the best in our roles that we can be every single night and stay consistent in that.”