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South Carolina coach Dawn Staley praises UConn’s Paige Bueckers

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COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 11: Paige Bueckers #5 of the UConn Huskies looks on during their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena on February 11, 2024 in Columbia, South Carolina. SC won 83-65. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Following South Carolina’s blowout win over the Huskies, Staley noted that she really enjoys watching Bueckers play.

“Paige was good when she was injured,” Staley said when asked if she sees a difference in her after recovering from two knee injuries. “She was good in the national championship game. … I love Paige’s game. For me, I would like for her to take more shots if I’m Geno [Auriemma], because she doesn’t take bad shots. She’s got great court vision, she’s got great court awareness. Paige is going to be an Olympian at some point soon.”

Of course, if there’s someone that can speak on knowing a player’s Olympic caliber, it’s Staley. She helped lead Team USA to gold at the Tokyo Olympics as the team’s head coach.

The comments echoed some that were made ahead of the game, when Staley called Bueckers’ game “lean.” Ahead of the game, Bueckers is currently averaging 20 points per game, as well as 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.1 blocks.

“Everything that she does has a purpose,” Staley said. “There’s no wasted movements out there on the floor.

“If you have some slippage defensively, she’s going to make you pay with her shots, she’s going to make you pay with her ability and her vision, she’s going to make you pay with rebounding the basketball. She’s that kind of player, just super well-put-together.”