Paige Bueckers wants to reaffirm UConn’s status as a women’s basketball dynasty.
The 21-year-old guard is returning from an ACL tear this season, and she is aiming to show that the Huskies’ reign is far from over. Seven years after UConn’s last title, Bueckers wants to hang another banner in the rafters — and to prove herself as well.
“I want to prove that I’m alright. I want to prove that I’m back. I want to prove that I’m a better player now,’’ she told The Athletic. “I’m trying to do too much in too little time, where I need to relax and let the game come to me. Things are going to happen when they’re supposed to, and there’s a time for everything, but it’s hard. I just want it all so bad.’’
From the perspective of the UConn coaching staff, Bueckers is back and better than ever for her redshirt junior season.
“The real difference is confidence,’’ said Andrea Hudy, director of sports performance for UConn women’s basketball. “She is a better athlete than she was pre-injury. A more confident Paige Bueckers? That’s pretty scary.’’
While Bueckers has accomplished a lot in her career despite her injury struggles over the last two seasons, there is still one thing left to do: win a national title.
“You come to UConn, you come to win a national championship,’’ Bueckers said. “That’s what they think of when they think of UConn basketball. We haven’t done it yet, and that’s why everyone thinks what they think. That the dynasty is over, or whatever. But I take that as a compliment because the expectations here are to win, and that’s what I’m here to do.’’