Top WNBA prospect Paige Bueckers vows to return to UConn next season: 'This will not be my last senior night'


Paige Bueckers is one of the most recognizable players in women’s college basketball. On Friday, the Connecticut Huskies superstar told a capacity crowd inside Gampel Pavilion she will return next season.

Bueckers’ announcement has significant implications across the women’s college basketball landscape. Through 27 games, Bueckers is averaging 20 points per game, tying her career best. She was projected to be a lottery pick in this year’s WNBA draft.

The 22-year-old Huskies guard ended the speculation about her future during a postgame ceremony on UConn’s senior night. 

“I know everybody wants me to address the elephant in the room. Unfortunately, this will not be my last senior night at UConn. I’m coming back,” she said.

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Paige Bueckers dribbles

Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers (5) drives to the basket during the first half of a first-round game against Mercer in the NCAA tournament March 19, 2022, in Storrs, Conn.  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Bueckers also thanked the fans and students for their support during her time in Storrs, Connecticut.

“I can’t put into words what this program has meant to me, what you guys have meant to me, the best student section in the country,” Bueckers said.

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“Thank you guys. Obviously, these four years didn’t go how I planned or how I wanted it to go, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t be able to get through what I went through without everybody here. So, thank you to the best fans in the country.”

Bueckers has received numerous awards during her impressive career with the Huskies. In 2021, she was a unanimous first-team All-American. 

Paige Bueckers dribbles

Paige Bueckers of the UConn Huskies controls the ball against the High Point Panthers during the first half of a first-round game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

She also took home virtually every top college basketball award that year, including the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year and The Associated Press women’s college basketball player of the year honors. 

The Huskies advanced to the Final Four that season. But since then, Bueckers has faced multiple setbacks. She underwent ankle surgery following her standout freshman campaign. She then missed 19 games her sophomore season after undergoing a procedure to repair an anterior tibial plateau fracture and a meniscus tear in her leg.

Paige Bueckers injured

Paige Bueckers of the Connecticut Huskies watches warmups before a game against the Louisville Cardinals in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena Dec. 19, 2021, in Uncasville, Conn. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

She returned to the lineup in 2022 and helped lift UConn to a national championship game appearance, before tearing her ACL in the following summer and missing her junior year.

Bueckers’ comeback is one of the rare pieces of good news the Huskies have had on the injury front, with Azzi Fudd and Aubrey Griffin being lost to injuries this season. UConn sits at 22-5.

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Bueckers had the option to return to Connecticut due to the 2022-23 medical redshirt season. She could also suit up for the Huskies for a sixth season if she elected to take advantage of the COVID-19 eligibility extension.

Longtime Huskies coach Geno Auriemma also tried to end speculation about whether he would retire, saying he would return next season. 

“Yeah, I’ll be back,”  Auriemma told reporters.

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