UConn received crushing news of Paige Bueckers suffering a torn ACL in her left knee that will require the star to miss the 2022-23 season.
Bueckers received the Naismith Trophy after averaging 20.0 points during her first year with the Huskies. Despite a leg injury limiting the guard to 17 games during her sophomore season, she led UConn to the national championship game.
Head coach Geno Auriemma released a statement through the team following the unfortunate announcement.
“We’re all devastated for Paige,” Auriemma said. “She’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and this is an unfortunate setback. Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player, but she’s a better person and teammate, and it’s really unfortunate that this has happened to her.”
Auriemma said Bueckers will encourage her teammates while sidelined and looked ahead to a triumphant return.
“We’ll miss her presence on the court, but she’ll do everything she can to still lead and help her teammates this season. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better and stronger.”
Bueckers said in an Instagram post that she was feeling “stronger than ever” before everything changed with “one sudden movement” during a pickup basketball game. She promised “one hell of a comeback.”
UConn has made 14 consecutive Final Four appearances, but that streak is in jeopardy without Bueckers. Auriemma’s team especially faces an uphill battle to capture their first national title since winning their fourth consecutive championship in 2016.