How Paige Bueckers Injury Affects the UConn Huskies and the 2022-23 Women’s College Basketball Season

UConn Huskies star keeper Big Bakers She ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, which will sideline her in the 2022-23 college women’s basketball season, causing a ripple effect throughout the sport.

A standout player in the game, Bueckers has been the number one recruit in the 2020 class and has helped UConn reach the women’s fourth final in each of the past two seasons. The Husky fell in a championship game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in April in Minnesota, the home state of the Bakers.

The 5-foot-11 Bueckers, turning 21 in October, had an impressive freshman season for Husky and were the unanimous National Player of the Year in the 2020-21 season. She had surgery on her right ankle after that season, but is back ready to go for 2021-22. However, near the end of Ocon’s victory over Notre Dame on December 5, Beckers sustained a fracture of the anterior tibial plateau and a meniscus tear, also in the left knee. She missed 19 games, then came back in late February.

The Bakers averaged 20.0 points and 4.9 assists as a freshman and 14.6 and 4.0 as a sophomore. We look at how a Bakers injury will affect the Huskies and the National Championship race this coming season.

How is the Bakers injury affecting UConn for the 2022-23 season and what adjustments would the Husky family make without her in the squad?

There is no doubt that a team that was one win away from winning the National Championship four months ago faces an uphill battle as it seeks to return to the 15th consecutive final. Losing three WNBA draft picks – Olivia Nelson Ododaand Kristen Williams and Eve Westbrook, the first two of them have been beginners for three and four years, respectively – it will be a modification as it were. But the Bakers’ absence removes an overtaking guard and passer, the formidable shooter and captain from a program running the longest run without a national title since his first win in 1995.

Husky is now down to four healthy backcourt players: a sophomore Azzi Benefita student in his second year of study Caroline DucharmeCarpentry Nika Mohl Transfer graduates from Fairfield Le Lopez Basic. And only Muhl is the true base guard.

There were times last season, when Fodd and the Bakers were out for months, the Yukon played with only three healthy guards. It’s not out of the question that something like this could happen in 2022-23 if the Husky suffered a more bad injury. Regardless, this lack of depth isn’t ideal for the more guard-oriented system that Geno Auriemma loves to run. Also note that Ducharme is coming off a hip injury in the off-season and that Fudd has been participating in team drills on a limited basis while trying to fully recover from the foot injury that has crippled her for most of her first year.

Muhl has excelled at the end of the last two seasons, but he has to be reliable as always with strong decision making and error-free play. (Then who will be the backup point guard?

Then there’s Fudd, the Bakers’ close friend and number one fellow general recruiter. With so many veteran players graduating and the Bakers sidelined, Fade is now burdened with more offensive responsibility than she expected for what she hopes will be her first full healthy season at Storrs. She will have to emerge quickly as the star, so many expect her to eventually become if the Huskies are to achieve many of their same goals this season.

It’s not as if the Huskys are left without any strong players in 2022-23, but their cap is much lower without a player like the Bakers, who is not only individually talented, but makes his teammates even better. – Philip

How far does UConn fall in the pre-season polls?

In the latest ESPN Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings on June 14, we had the Huskies second behind defending champion South Carolina, with the Stanford Cardinal, Tennessee Lady Falls and Texas Longhorns among the top five. The Bueckers are clearly a key element to the team, but the Huskies have played nearly three months without their final season. And since this injury is in early August, the team doesn’t have to adjust to her absence midway through.

However, Husky dogs will fall out, perhaps even in the top five. For now, that would be a reasonable place for UConn – say sixth or seventh – considering that the Huskies also lost veterans Williams, Westbrook and Nelson Ododa. – Bullshit

UConn plays Texas, NC State, Duke, Notre Dame and Iowa or Oregon in the first month of the season. How can huskies get out of that schedule?

Last season, the Huskies nearly beat Louisville without Fudd and Bueckers and managed to beat Tennessee without the Bueckers, so it’s not inconceivable that they could compete against quality teams without the Bueckers. However, it wouldn’t be shocking if UConn’s early 2022-23 slate looked a bit like the way 2021-22 went: experiencing many bumps in the road when both Huskies were trying to figure out things sans Bakers (and delegates at the time ), but then more rhythm was found as the season went on, even regardless of the Bakers’ return.

The timing isn’t entirely in their favour, at least as far as the higher-caliber competition centered in the first month of the season, as the team will have to fundamentally reinvent itself without Williams, Nelson Ododa, Westbrook and the Bakers. UConn will likely have figured things out further, though, with their rematch for the national title against South Carolina on February 5. – Philip

How does a Bakers injury affect the National Championship race next season?

UConn won an epic regional final against NC State last season to advance to the 14th consecutive final. There was a lot of thinking that the streak would end last year, as some confidence in the Huskies waned during the Bakers’ exit. But once she did, it seemed like they were back on track quickly.

It’s a different picture this season with the Bakers sidelined. Gamecocks, with the return of the best player of last season at the national level High Bostonwould be a very strong pick to repeat, as well as being the first team in the SEC (although Tennessee could be a contender).

Stanford, the 2021 champion, is always able to reload quickly after personnel losses, and that will be the case again this season after losing the guards. Lexi HallLacey Hall and Anna Wilson. with stars like Halle Jones And the Cameron Brink Once again, in addition to adding 6-7 Lauren Bates, the Cardinal will be a favorite in search of the championship. Tennessee and Texas both picked up a lot of talent from the transfer gate, as did Louisville, NC and LSU. Iowa and Iowa State are both bringing back a lot of their talent from last season, and both will be among the top teams in their conferences.

The last 11 NCAA titles were at UConn in 2016, and Bueckers’ absence makes the drought likely to continue. However, it was already a very competitive group of likely contenders, even with Bueckers in good health. – Bullshit

How does that affect the 2023 WNBA Draft, for which the Bueckers were eligible? And what does that mean for her future at UConn, where she has three years of eligibility left?

The Bokers will turn 22 in October 2023, which means they will be able to leave college early and enter the 2023 Draft. WNBA rules state that players who are 22 years old in the same calendar year from the draft are eligible for it even if they are not seniors .

But Bakers has previously said that it does not plan to enter this upcoming draft. She was one of the better players to benefit from name, image, and likeness deals, and the association with the UConn brand name is greater, frankly, than any WNBA team.

NIL’s chances allow the Bueckers to make the most of her popularity with the Huskies and in college basketball, so most of them expected to play the next two seasons in college and go in the 2024 draft, and noted that this was also her plan. However, due to the extra year student-athletes have gained eligibility due to COVID-19, it can already stay until 2025.

Now, with her losing the 2022-23 season, will the Bakers still be in the 2024 draft, having played just three seasons at UConn? It depends on how she recovers and how she feels. If she wants to have all four seasons in college, we won’t see her until the 2025 draft. Or she can stay all the way until 2026. She has shown a strong desire to win a national championship, so that could also be a factor. – Bullshit