In the closing seconds of the UConn women’s basketball team’s 73-54 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame on Sunday, Huskies superstar guard Paige Bueckers fell to the floor on a non-contact play with an apparent injury to her left leg. On Tuesday, it was revealed that Bueckers had suffered a tibial plateau fracture in her left knee and is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
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In his postgame press conference, Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma said his team (5-1 and ranked No. 3 in the nation) would be hampered significantly without last season’s consensus National Player of the Year on the court.
“You immediately put yourself in that kid’s shoes,” Auriemma said about his reaction to Bueckers’ injury. “What are they thinking? How are they feeling right now? What’s going through their mind when something like that happens?”
Meanwhile, after the extent of her injury was announced, Bueckers turned to Instagram to express her hope for the future despite the setback on the basketball court.
“The real will always prevail…,” she wrote, “Gods plan #BeBackSoon”
View this post on Instagram
Bueckers, a 20-year-old sophomore from Hopkins, Minnesota, set women’s college basketball ablaze during her first year in Storrs, averaging 20.0 points, 5.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. In the process, she set numerous program freshman records and won most major awards she was eligible for as she led the Huskies to the program’s 12th consecutive Final Four.
She was off to an even better start in the first six games of this season, averaging 21.2 points, 6.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals.
After last season’s UConn squad advanced to the Final Four, Bueckers was asked if the Final Four berth was everything she had dreamed of.
“As a little kid, I would be outside at the park shooting hoops, envisioning these moments but you never really know if you’re going to get those chances and opportunities. And that’s where God kicks in,” she said in her postgame press conference. “I know I wouldn’t be here without Him and just the confidence and experiences and opportunities He’s given me. I’ve just tried to shine and sort of make Him famous and use my light that He’s given me to shine on Him.
“So these opportunities, you dream of them as a kid, but you can get there with strong work ethic and faith and just trust in God.”
"These opportunities, you dream of them as a kid, but you can get there with strong work ethic and faith and just trust in God." — Freshman star @paigebueckers1 after leading @UConnWBB to the Final Four pic.twitter.com/MkwgHqkFST
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) March 30, 2021
Bueckers, who cites Proverbs 3:5-6 in her Instagram bio and has been known to discuss her faith, said she learned to trust in the Lord more fully during the country’s shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That was a really hard time for me, the start of the shutdown of the whole country,” she said this past March. “That’s when I really started connecting with my faith and with God, knowing He always has a plan for me through the ups and the downs, just always keeping that faith and that trust that everything’s going to work out and everything happens for a reason.”
Took a much needed break from Twitter. Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers. God is still great and everything I go through He has already conquered! Through the ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys, my faith never waivers. Proverbs 3:5-6🤞🏼
— Paige Bueckers (@paigebueckers1) May 1, 2021
The 2021-22 Huskies will have to make up for a lot of production in Bueckers’ absence. Their next game is Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on the road at Georgia Tech (6-2).
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