With Paige Bueckers in ‘Coach P’ role while injured, UConn must fill roster production to hit high standards

Paige Bueckers, one of the most respected college basketball players. Can not play on the field this season. while recovering from an ACL injury she suffered in August. But Naismith’s Player of the Year for 2021 will remain on the bench as ‘Coach P’ for the Connecticut Huskies working to heal from a finishing injury. 14 consecutive Grand Finals in history, 14 times

“I am the head coach, the coach. [Geno Auriemma] Let me do that instead,” Bueckers told local reporters in September. A month after the injury, “No, I was just joking. But I’m the coach of the players. I’ll be someone they can talk to. people to push them and someone they can rely on when they need support. I’m taking this job as a coach. But I’m not sure what job I’m taking.”

The Bueckers did their best in the best way she knew. The 5ft 11 defender introduced her new role during the team’s internal media day season by walking around. with clipboard and whistle in video captured by Nika Mühl.

She posed with a whistle and a towel for a media day photo. Later sharing on her Instagram with “just a quick temporary change,” the team’s official account called her “COACH P,” and teammate Dorka Juhasz told her, “Put me on, coach.”

There’s always been a lot of comedy around Storrs, Connecticut, but Auriemma is joining the cast as well (except who assumes the part where the Bueckers take over).

“I want her to learn more about the game by doing those things. By sitting in practice and watching from the coach’s eye instead of the player’s eye,” Auriama told the Associated Press, “and she will be the same Paige she was. And she will be taken away and she wants to do this. And she’ll want to do that. And she wants to provide information on this matter.”

The Bueckers spent one season in college as a student coach, only to improve the guard’s already high basketball IQ and upgrade the talent that made her the first freshman player of the year in history. The 39-year-old of the award she said she would go back to school in her final season instead of joining the 2023 WNBA draft, which she was eligible for because she was 22 that year.

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But first, UConn has to focus on the upcoming season. Almost all of the starting roles had to be filled after losing more than half of their statistical production.

production packing list

UConn, ranked sixth in the Associated Press pre-season poll, will have to fill in the gap left by defenders Christyn Williams and Evina Westbrook and center Olivia Nelson-Ododa, all of whom were drafted into the WNBA once the Bueckers are out. The Huskies also returned the single most frequently used player in their top five, Bueckers (14.6 ppg) and Williams (14.2 ppg) leading the scoring.

The four together contributed 63.7% of team scores, 48.1% of rebounds, 57.7% of assists, 50.8% of steals and 53.3% of blocks.

The highest scoring threat is 2021 No. 1 recruit Azzi Fudd, who injured his foot last season. She averaged 12.1 apiece, was the team’s most effective 3-pointer at 43% (58v 135) and the sharpest on the free throw line (91.2%). same as muhl The young defender who stepped in to replace the Buckers.

UConn guard Azzi Fudd is the Huskies' highest score threat this season with injuries that have sidelined some of her teammates. (AP Photo/Franklin II)

UConn defender Azzi Fudd has been the Huskies’ top scoring threat this season with injuries sustaining some of her teammates. (AP Photo/Franklin II)

Health will be a key factor in the Huskies’ season, with 10 players on the roster following an injury to the Bueckers and younger Ice Brady Brady, gold medalist at the 2022 FIBA ​​U18 Americas Championship, entering the qualifiers. No. 5 by ESPN, she suffered a patella in her right knee during training on Oct. 21 and has been disqualified this season.

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10 of them on the list, including key player still working from his own injury, senior defender Caroline Ducharme (9.8 ppg) is out of Juhasz (7.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 19.8 mpg) hip surgery. Page 6-5 is returning from a fractured left wrist where she suffered an injury in the NCAA regional finals, young striker Aaliyah Edwards (7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) said on the Big East media day that she Will begin the masked season after breaking her nose and suffering a concussion in a sparring clash.

Joining the returners is forward Ayanna Patterson, the No. 4 overall recruit in the 2022 class by ESPN. She was voted preseason for the Big East UConn freshman of the year, adds Guardian/Submission. Per Lou Lopez-Sénéchal is a graduate move after she led Fairfield to the MAAC championships and the NCAA tournament, and in August. Following the Bueckers’ injury, UConn brought in Portugal rookie Inês Bettencourt late in the line.

Keep up with Huskies’ high standards.

The Huskies’ triumphant streak is fiercely considered. and as other programs develop around them. They are more at risk of falling. That remains true in 2022-2023.

While the Bueckers were out for nearly three months last season with a touchless left leg injury, UConn lost their first regular-season meeting game since 2013, a record 145 games that Villanova snapped.

Two nights later, DePaul kept an eye on history, only to fail. It was 29 years with 1,059 matches since UConn lost consecutive games until March 1993, which will happen again this month and next, when the Huskies face the entire team. Five teams in AP Top 25 over seven games. Upcoming schedule:

November 14: vs. No. 3 Texas

20 Nov: Compared to No. 10 North Carolina State

November 25: vs. Duke

2: Dec. compared to Providence

December 4: At No. 9 Notre Dame

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December 8: vs. No. 24 Princeton

December 11: At No. 17 Maryland

The Bueckers returned at the end of the regular season on their way to the 20th Big East Championship. It was their ninth consecutive conference title, including seven straight in the American Athletic Conference. UConn was unanimously voted on by coach selection. Pre-season to win the Big East again But it won’t be easy

Creighton ranked 21st in the AP poll, made an Elite Eight record in history and came within eight points of UConn at the January meeting. Villanova was crowned Big East Player of the Year Maddy Sigris DePaul, who voted fourth in the poll. Proud to feature Rookie Player of the Year Aneesah Morrow and stay away from UConn in their first meeting last season.

The bigger streak fans have been keeping an eye on is the NCAA tournament, where multiple runs were nearly captured last year. They were almost beaten by Central Florida, winning 52-47 in the second round. The next outing they pulled out of a four-point game against Indiana missing 16-0 at halftime and to cap off the region in the backyard. their They escaped a double overtime thriller with NC State.

It supported their runs in the Sweet 16s, which they last missed in 1993, and the Elite Eights, which they last missed in 2006. Their 14 consecutive Fours finishes have been incredible. But the ending slipped, the title wasn’t there. A tight five-point win against 2021 champions Stanford Cardinals set them up for an unlikely title with South Carolina. which they lost 64-49

It’s been five seasons (and six more, including the canceled tournament in 2020) as UConn won the title. The ridiculous record shows just how high the Huskies’ standards are. They last won in 2016, closing four in a row with two-time WNBA champion Breanna Stewart.

Of the 40 NCAA Division I tournaments, UConn has won 11 so far. Tennessee has eight and no other program has more than three (Stanford, Baylor).


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