1 April 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hopkins grad Paige Bueckers is from Minnesota. She’s playing in the Final Four in Minnesota. But the story of how she got here might be more fitting for Hollywood.
When Bueckers fractured her knee and tore her meniscus on Dec. 5, this weekend seemed impossible.
“Yeah, I was devastated. I was very upset, very confused,” Bueckers said. “I had never gone through an in-season injury like this where I had to miss out games during the season.”
But with help from her teammates, she recovered in time to play in UConn’s conference tournament.
“Just reminding her that like she’s doing great, and like where she is,” said UConn freshman guard Azzi Fudd. “Wherever she was in her recovery, like she’s doing better than the average person was. Like reminding her that she’s still Paige Bueckers, that kinda thing, so just keeping her spirits high.”
Her return from injury was completed in the Elite Eight. When a minute limit was discarded, Bueckers played 45 minutes. Her shooting willed the Huskies to a double overtime win. Now, the return from injury has become a return home.
“Still hasn’t really sunk in, it’s really surreal to me,” Bueckers said. “I’ve been in this locker room before for a state tournament in high school so it’s all familiar, It’s all crazy.”
She won a high school championship with Hopkins, but fell short at Target Center. She’ll try to change that Friday.
“Yeah, I think there’s a reason why I’m back here and why I’m getting the opportunity again. Like I said it’s crazy what God does in your life, and just to be back here to get that opportunity and experience again,” Bueckers said. “I obviously want a different outcome, and we’re gonna do whatever it takes as a team to get that different outcome. And yeah, I’m just excited to be back.”
UConn plays in the second semifinal Friday night at Target Center, scheduled for 8:30 p.m.