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Paige Bueckers says UConn injuries could influence whether she goes pro

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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 12: Paige Bueckers #5 of the UConn Huskies runs up court after her three-point basket during their game against the NC State Wolfpack at Reynolds Coliseum on November 12, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. NC State won 92-81. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Paige Bueckers isn’t rushing her decision on whether or not she’ll enter the WNBA draft.

While Bueckers is a projected first-round pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, the UConn star said on Tuesday that the deciding factors aren’t limited to the WNBA and which teams have picks.

Bueckers was asked on Tuesday if UConn’s injuries have impacted her decision to return or go pro next season. Injuries to Azzi Fudd, Aubrey Griffin, Jana El Alfy, Ayanna Patterson and Caroline Ducharme have all impacted the team this season and seriously dampened its championship potential.

“I think that’s what it’s all about,” Bueckers said. “It’s not about teams in the draft; who’s got what pick. It’s all about me loving playing here, me loving my teammates and wanting to get more experiences and more time with them and more time in the program. And so that’s, I think, the deciding factor — just wanting to be here longer and not anything necessarily that’s already picked and chosen in the draft.”

Bueckers has herself dealt with injuries that have impacted her college career, including an ACL injury that kept her out of last season. The year previous she missed 19 games en route to helping the Huskies reach the 2022 national title game.

She joked on Tuesday about the prospect of head coach Geno Auriemma wanting her to return. Due to her injuries, Bueckers has two years of eligibility remaining.

“At the beginning of the season he didn’t want me back. Now he probably wants me back,” she said. “It just depends on the ebbs and flows of the season but, still a conversation I’m gonna have.”