Lower than an hour after information of Paige Bookers’ season-ending harm broke on Wednesday, the title “Paige” was already trending on Twitter.
followers, coaches, gamers provided their help UConn stars after this system introduced the up-and-coming junior had I tore my ACL throughout a pick-up basketball recreation He’ll miss the whole 2022-23 season.
Social media made it clear sufficient in only a few minutes how vital Bueckers are to the general recreation.
However in fact, nobody will miss her greater than a husky.
“We’re all devastated for Paige,” head coach Geno Auriemma mentioned in an announcement. “She has been working actually arduous this offseason to get stronger and more healthy. Paige is clearly an important basketball participant, however she’s a greater particular person and a greater teammate, and it is an actual disgrace that one thing like this occurred to her. We are going to miss her presence, however she’s going to proceed to steer this season and can do all the things she will to assist her teammates. Assist her therapeutic course of to assist
Final season supplied an instance of the stark distinction between UConn with Bueckers and UConn with out Bueckers. And this time round, the Huskies do not have skilled gamers like Kristin Williams, Olivia Nelson Ododa, and Evina Westbrook, to allow them to soften the blow.
when bookers injured her knee Throughout their victory at Notre Dame on December 5, 2021, the Huskies had a splash, dropping to Georgia Tech, Louisville, Oregon, and Villanova. The loss to the Wildcats was UConn’s first convention loss since 2013. When Bookers returned in February, the Huskies stunned many by making all of it the best way to the nationwide championship recreation in a 64–49 loss to South Carolina.
Shedding Bookers mid-season proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, UConn suffered uncharacteristic losses with out dynamic guards.However however, different members of the workforce strengthened in her absenceand its depth was a great tool within the NCAA Match stretch.
This time issues are totally different. Huskies have time to regulate however employees are restricted and younger.
UConn will carry again junior ahead Aaliyah Edwards, defensive stopper Nika Mur, sophomore Dorka Juhas and 2021 #1 Recruiter Ajifad.
After benefiting from an elevated function because the 2021-22 season progresses, sophomore Caroline Ducharm, the fifth recruit in her class, may also return.
From there, the roster expanded to 2 freshmen, Ice Brady and Ayanna Pattersonsophomore Amari DeBerry averaged 6.2 minutes per recreation final season. Fairfield alumni switch Lou Lopez Senechal. and redshirt junior Aubrey Griffin, who missed final season with a again harm.
That is numerous unknowns. UConn does not sometimes undergo the rising pains that different groups do after they begin a season, however the longtime powerhouse is getting into a brand new period. Past established gamers corresponding to Fudd, Edwards and Juhas, the workforce will depend on others to make large strides in his 2022-23. The listing of potential breakout gamers begins with Ducharme and Griffin.
When Bookers went down with a knee harm final season, Ducharme performed persistently, posting 4 20-plus level video games. profession excessive 28 towards St. John’s in January. By the top of the season, Ducharme seemed assured with the Huskies, averaging 9.8 factors per recreation and he had 3.2 rebounds. The Massachusetts native got here to his UConn as a succesful scorer and continued his highschool profession regardless of lacking most of his freshman yr and his sophomore season as a result of harm. completed with 2,092 factors.
“She’s not afraid of the second,” Auriema advised reporters after Ducharm’s efficiency towards St. John’s. “She’s simply taking part in. Silver lining, proper? Who would have thought she would do one thing like this? Nobody will get harm, all the things stays the best way it’s, and possibly she’ll have the chance to play this lengthy.” We knew she was nice, and we discovered her to be actually, actually good.”
The Huskies want her to do higher this season.
Griffin is a lesser-known participant as he underwent again surgical procedure in January and missed the whole 2021-22 season, however he’s additionally a flexible participant with vital benefits. He is a 5-star recruit in 2019 He is 6-foot-1 athletic His wing dominated throughout his senior yr at Ossining Excessive Faculty, averaging 28.2 factors, 10.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per recreation It was a goal.
Griffin appeared in all 32 video games as a UConn freshman, coming off the bench and averaging 6.4 factors and 5.4 rebounds per recreation. As a sophomore, she posted comparable numbers, making 5 appearances within the beginning lineup.
Fudd, Edwards and Juhaas, in the meantime, had been the three most minutes performed final season and are the spine of the workforce. Fudd, who was named to the 2022 Huge East All-Freshman Group, will probably be referred to as upon to steer the Huskies offensively, and his 12.1 factors per recreation common needs to be up.
She’s additionally the obvious option to take over as level guard.
The Viewkers boasted a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio final yr and spent numerous time with the ball of their fingers. It could be her absence in her level guard spot that the Huskies miss her essentially the most.
Westbrook and Williams stuffed that function final season, with Buckers sidelined and Mule one other stand-in. However 2022’s Huge Her EastHer Defensive Participant of the 12 months is simpler on the opposite aspect of the courtroom, so Auriemma will not depend on her often except there is not any different possibility. I suppose.
UConn additionally wants to seek out an on-court chief to switch Bueckers, however do not anticipate her to go silent. Like final season, she’s going to proceed to talk out and lead the workforce from the sidelines. That is one among her certainties within the unknown season.
Eden Laase is a employees author for Simply Girls’s Sports activities. observe her on her twitter @eden_laase.