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Paige Bueckers vows to play for UConn for 2023-24, skip draft exit

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Apr 3, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) controls the ball between South Carolina Gamecocks guard Bree Hall (23) and South Carolina Gamecocks forward Aliyah Boston (4) in the Final Four championship game of the women's college basketball NCAA Tournament at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Injured UConn star Paige Bueckers told reporters Thursday that she will play for the Huskies again in 2023-24 rather than enter the 2023 WNBA Draft.

Bueckers will become age-eligible in time for the draft next spring, which had led some to wonder if she’d already played her last game for the Huskies, who lost to South Carolina in the national championship game last April.

“I’m not leaving. That is not in question,” Bueckers said to the media in Storrs, Conn. “People asked me, ‘What are you thinking about fifth year, COVID year, redshirting this year.’ I’m not thinking too far ahead about that at all. But I will be playing college basketball again.”

Bueckers tore her ACL in a pickup game on Aug. 1 and was ruled out for the 2022-23 season, which would have been her junior campaign. She also missed 19 games last season with a tibial plateau fracture and a lateral meniscus tear.

“I was going full speed and I sort of tried to come to a stop and there was some contact, not a lot of contact, but it just kind of gave out,” Bueckers said. “I knew it was bad. I felt a pop. And then I went to the training room and I was extremely frustrated. I didn’t know how serious it was, but I knew something was wrong.”

The former No. 1 high school recruit was named the national player of the year in women’s college basketball as a freshman in 2020-21. A point guard, Bueckers has averaged 18.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists for her college career in 46 games (42 starts).

–Field Level Media