STORRS, Conn. – The UConn women’s basketball program announced devastating news on Wednesday that will undoubtedly change the course of its 2022-23 season.
Superstar guard Paige Bueckers suffered a torn ACL in her left knee during a basketball game on Monday. She will be out for the upcoming season, according to a team press release.
Bueckers, the former Hopkins High phenom, underwent an MRI Monday night to confirm the injury. She will undergo surgery on Friday at UConn Health. An update on the timeline for his recovery will be shared after the procedure.
“We’re all devastated for Paige,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and it’s an unfortunate setback. Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player, but she’s a better person and a better teammate and that’s really sad that this happened to him.
“Her presence on the pitch will be missed, but she will do everything she can to continue to lead and help her teammates this season. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better. and stronger.”
The news is a blow to the Huskies, who were plagued with injuries and COVID-19 issues for nearly the entire roster last season. That included Bueckers, who missed 19 games after sustaining a fractured anterior tibial plateau and torn lateral meniscus in the same left knee. She had surgery on December 13 but returned to action on February 25 and led the Huskies to the Final Four in Minneapolis; they lost in the championship game to South Carolina.
She has consistently led the team with averages of 14.6 points, 4.0 assists, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Bueckers had pledged to stay at Storrs over the summer to strengthen and avoid injury.
“It’s so crazy because you’re working so hard to get healthy, you’re feeling stronger than ever, and you’re playing your best basketball and with one sudden movement, everything changes,” Bueckers posted on Instagram. “It’s hard trying to make sense of it all now, but I can’t help but feel that God is using me as a testimony to all that you can overcome with Him by your side. A little child who just tore their ACL or had major surgery might need this P story, because it’s going to be one hell of a comeback.
“There are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days, but my absolute love for the game and my divine strength will get me back to where I need to be. I worked too hard for the little kid in these photos. keep fulfilling the dreams I’ve had since I first took the ball on, so why should I stop now?
After reaching the national championship game last year despite injuries to Bueckers, Azzi Fudd (foot), Dorka Juhász (wrist), Caroline Ducharme (hip) and several others, the UConn players were confident in their ability to win it all this coming season with a healthy roster. These aspirations are completely changing now.
Bueckers became the first rookie in women’s college basketball history to win the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, AP Player of the Year and USBWA Player of the Year in 2020-21. She averaged 20 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game that year.