Paige Bueckers, the defending National Player of the Year in women’s college basketball and a star guard for No. 2-ranked UConn, suffered a knee injury late in the Huskies’ 73-54 victory against Notre Dame on Sunday. Bueckers was dribbling the basketball up the floor with less than a minute to play when her leg appeared to buckle as she attempted to plant it.
Bueckers collapsed to the floor, and she had to be helped off the court by two teammates. According to a report by Katie Barnes of ESPNW, Bueckers will undergo an MRI in the coming days to determine the severity of her injury. Speaking to the media afterward, Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma intimated that Bueckers’ injury might have been a hyperextension of the knee based on the initial report.
“On the replay, it looked like it probably hyperextended,” Auriemma said. “Best-case scenario. But nothing twisted, according to the doctor. … So hopefully we’ll get some good news tomorrow.”
A five-star recruit out of Edina, Minnesota, Bueckers has quickly become one of the most outstanding players in women’s college basketball and earned both AP and Naismith Player of the Year honors for 2021. Bueckers led the Huskies in scoring in their rout of the Fighting Irish, putting up 22 points while also adding four rebounds, four assists, and five steals.
There was some questioning after the game of why Bueckers was still on the court late in the game with UConn holding a sizeable lead. Auriemma admitted he did not have a good answer as to why.
“I don’t like our team without her on the court,” he said.
Losing Bueckers for any period of time would be a difficult thing for UConn; she had been averaging 21 points entering the game Sunday.