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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

In the Paint: Paige Bueckers is the future

Jenny-Lu-In-the-Paint

Paige Bueckers, a first-year on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, has been an internet sensation since her days in high school and it’s easy to see why. On the court, Bueckers is an electric player whose playmaking abilities are really what makes her stand out. Although there is no shortage of talent and excitement in the WNBA, the internet fame that follows the new generation of athletes like Bueckers could bring more viewers to women’s basketball. 

Bueckers competed for Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn. at the guard position. Bueckers was an instrumental part of the school’s success during her four-year career there, taking the team to the state championship game every year. During her senior year before the title game was canceled due to COVID-19, Bueckers averaged 21.4 points, 9.4 assists, 5.4 steals and five rebounds per game, leading her team to an undefeated season. 

Despite only being in high school, she racked up an impressive number of accolades, including  being the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Slam magazine cover athlete. Bueckers finished high school as a five-star recruit and the No. 1 ranked player in the 2020 recruiting class byESPN

Bueckers has also represented the United States in women’s basketball, winning four gold medals in total, including two FIBA Women’s World Cups. 

With an already impressive resume, fans have been eager to follow her journey through college and professional basketball. Bueckers made her debut as a UCONN Husky this season and she is already by far the best player on the team and is being discussed as potentially one of the best in UConn women’s basketball history. UConn currently sits at the top of the Big East standings with a 24–1 record (1–0 in conference) and a 14-game winning streak. In 24 games, Bueckers has averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. As for shooting, she has averaged 53.9% from the floor, a scary 47.4% from three and 83.6% from the line. Despite playing in a more competitive environment than high school, it’s clear that Bueckers continues to be a confident player on the ball as well as an elite and unselfish facilitator for her teammates. 

Buecker’s smooth handles, flashy dimes and clutch plays are all reasons why she has what it takes to be both the future for UConn women's basketball and the future of the WNBA.