Paige Bueckers has agreed to return to the UConn women’s basketball rotation.
The reigning national player of the year came off the bench when she returned Friday after suffering a leg injury in December. In 13 minutes, she contributed eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, two rebounds and an assist in the 93-38 rout of the No. 7 Huskies at St. John’s.
Both Bueckers and UConn coach Geno Auriemma noted that the guard was reintegrating into a team that had grown in his absence.
“I’m not really focused on me and I’m going back to the old me and doing what I was doing before because we’re such a different team now,” Bueckers said, per ESPN.com. “So whatever my team needs me to do, I will try to do it.”
“The team she came back to is a better team, has a better understanding of what we’re trying to do, has more players who can do more things than they could do the last time she played. “Auriemma said, per ESPN. .com. He said she “gives them confidence”.
The 5-11 Bueckers were averaging 36.3 minutes when she fell late in the Huskies’ Dec. 5 win over Notre Dame with a broken leg and torn meniscus. She averaged 21.2 points, 6.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals in six games. UConn started 5-1, with the loss handed to No. 1 South Carolina in the Bahamas.
The Huskies (21-5, 15-1 Big East) lost to Georgia Tech, No. 4 Louisville, Oregon and Villanova — but also won the Big East regular-season championship — while Bueckers sat out.
“All the other teams are probably going to get better in the playoffs,” Auriemma said, according to ESPN.com. “But we got better by who we added, and I don’t know if anyone else adds someone like that.”