How Paige Bueckers is Revolutionizing Women’s Basketball

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Paige Bueckers is cementing herself as a revolutionary basketball player in just her freshman season at UConn.

Tristan Baldeo, Staff Writer

Paige Bueckers is nothing short of a basketball phenomenon, with no limitations stopping her from dominating in every aspect imaginable. The 19-year-old college freshman, part of the Connecticut Huskies, has proven herself as the best player on the team since the very second she stepped on their court.

Prior to her freshman year, Bueckers had already built a name for herself in high school. She was named the National High School Player of the Year as well as USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2019, and the awards continued to pour in from there during her senior year. The bar was set high for her moving into her college career at the University of Connecticut as she was a five-star guard ranked number one in the nation within her respective class by ESPN.

The UConn women’s basketball team is one of the most respected teams out there, having won a total of 11 national championships as well as being the home for WNBA legends such as Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Maya Moore, and many others. Bueckers looks to carry on that torch of greatness and has already exceeded expectations.

Averaging 20 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game, Bueckers has managed to break records and win awards only 29 games into her career as a Husky.

She has set the record at UConn for most assists in a single game at 14 total assists and currently holds the record for most assists in a freshman season at 146 total assists. It is safe to say that playmaking is one of her many strong suits on the court.

The 5’11 point-guard weighing in at 140 pounds has won many awards so far this season for her outstanding performance, including AP Women’s Player of the Year and the 2021 Naismith Trophy. Both are very prestigious awards and Bueckers is the first freshman to win either individual award ever in history.

While she has seemingly accomplished everything in just 29 games with the Huskies, the one thing she fell short of this season was a national championship. The UConn Huskies would end up losing in the Final Four of the women’s NCAA tournament in a major upset against the Arizona Wildcats. The score would be 59-69 as the heavy favorites would fall, and the Wildcats would proceed to the championship.

Bueckers is still a freshman, however, and a national championship seems essentially guaranteed down the road of her college career.

“She’s the best player in basketball already,” said Diana Taurasi to UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

While many claim that Bueckers is ready to enter the WNBA already, league rules prevent her from doing so as you must be 22 years of age in order to declare for the WNBA draft. Bueckers, as well as the rest of the female basketball athletes, will have to finish her college career in order to do so.

This rule has sparked controversy as many believe the WNBA should follow the same ruling of the NBA when it comes to declaring for the draft. Rather than having to compete for four full years in college, the NBA lets players declare for the draft at 19-years-old, following their freshman year of college.

While this may be a minor setback for Bueckers, the opportunities still remain endless. When it’s all said and done, it’s hard to imagine a world where she fails to change the landscape of women’s basketball and cement herself in history books across the globe. She has gained the respect of many, and that respect will only continue to grow.

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