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Paige Bueckers on AP Top 25: ‘We only care about being No. 1 in April’

Paige Bueckers and UConn lost their second game of the season to NC State on Nov. 12. (Lance King/Getty Images)

UConn basketball dropped six spots to No. 8 in Monday’s edition of the AP Top 25 poll. But star guard Paige Bueckers isn’t worried about the rankings.

The Huskies’ fall from the No. 2 ranking came after Sunday’s 92-81 loss to then-unranked NC State. The defeat to the Wolfpack stood out in several ways:

  • UConn has not started a season with a 1-1 record since 2014.
  • UConn had not lost to NC State since the 1998 Elite Eight.
  • UConn had not allowed 92 points in regulation since 2001.
  • UConn has six ranked losses against unranked opponents over the last three seasons, compared to four in the 20 seasons before that.

Even after the loss, though, UConn did make some positive history. The Huskies’ presence in the AP Top 25 poll breaks the record for most consecutive weeks as a ranked team at 566, surpassing Tennessee at 565.

Yet as Bueckers said ahead of the NC State game, she is not paying attention to the ups and downs of her team’s ranking this season. She only cares about one metric: an NCAA championship.

“We only care about being No. 1 in April, and we have yet to do that since we’ve been here at school,” Bueckers said. “So rankings during the regular season really don’t mean anything to us.”

The most recent of UConn’s 11 national titles came in 2016. Bueckers joined the Huskies in 2020, and she wants to win her own before her time with the program is up, whenever that may be.

“It’s about getting better every single day at practice, building great habits and continuing to get better on both sides of the floor, communicate, hold each other accountable,” Bueckers said. “And I think those are the main goals in order to build habits to be the No. 1 team in April.”