Paige Bueckers took the court for the second half of No. 17 UConn’s game with No. 24 North Carolina with 998 career points to her name. Fifteen seconds later, she reached 1,000.
KK Arnold grabbed a steal in the Huskies’ defensive end. She barrelled down the court, and when she reached the key, she dished to Bueckers on her right side. Buckers crashed the net with the ball in hand and tapped a layup off the glass.
After she tied Maya Moore to become one of the fastest UConn basketball players to reach 1,000 career points, Bueckers fell to the floor, rolled to her feet, and continued playing.
A minute and a half later, Bueckers collected her own steal in the Huskies’ end and drove to the hoop again for another easy layup. And she celebrated her 1,002nd point instead of No. 1,000.
As UNC called for a timeout, Bueckers puffed out her chest and screamed into the roar of the Connecticut crowd. Her teammates flocked to her and celebrated her achievement at her side.
“Maya is one of the GOATs, so to be in that space is just amazing,” Bueckers said to ESPN after the game. “It’s just a testament to all that my teammates have done for me, all that my coaches have done for me, I’m just a product of what they do for me, so extremely grateful and it’s an honor to be next to her.”
Bueckers showed out at the Invesco QQQ Basketball Hall of Fame women’s showcase. She dropped 26 points against the Tar Heels and unleashed her defensive prowess as well, batting four blocks and making three steals.
“I don’t know if it was the shooting sleeve or what but I felt like I was just trying to contribute to winning in any way that I can,” Bueckers said to ESPN. “I feel like if I play hard on the defensive end, stuff goes better for me on offense.”