Paige Bueckers is one of the most recognizable women’s athletes. College basketball. On Friday, the Connecticut Huskies superstar told a capacity crowd inside Gamble Pavilion that she will be back next season.

Buker’s announcement has significant implications for the landscape of women’s college basketball. Through 27 games, Bueckers is averaging 20 points per game, tying her career best. He was a likely lottery pick this year. WNBA Draft.

The 22-year-old Huskies guard ended speculation about his future during a postgame ceremony on UConn’s senior night.

“I know everyone wants me to address the elephant in the room. Unfortunately, this won’t be my last senior night at UConn. I’m coming back,” she said.

Paige Bueckers dribbles

Connecticut’s Paige Buekers (5) drives to the basket during the first half of their first round game against Mercer in the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2022 in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The Bakers also thanked fans and students for their support during their time in Storrs, Connecticut.

“I can’t put into words what this program means to me, what you guys mean to me, the best student body in the country,” Bookers said.

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“Thank you guys. Obviously, these four years haven’t gone the way I planned or the way I wanted them to go, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t go without what I’ve been through. Everyone here. So, thank you to the best fans in the country.”

Bakers has received numerous awards during his illustrious career. Husky. In 2021, he was a consensus first-team All-American.

Paige Bueckers dribbles

UConn Huskies’ Paige Bueckers controls the ball against the High Point Panthers during the first half of a 2021 NCAA Tournament first round game. (Carmen Mandito/Getty Images)

She also won virtually every major college basketball award that year, including the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year and the Associated Press Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year. .

The Huskies pushed on The Final Four But since that season, the Bueckers have suffered a number of setbacks. He underwent ankle surgery after his standout freshman campaign. He then missed 19 games of his sophomore season after undergoing procedures to repair an anterior tibial plateau fracture and meniscus tear in his leg.

Paige Bueckers injured

Connecticut Huskies’ Paige Bueckers warms up before a game against the Louisville Cardinals at the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena on Dec. 19, 2021, in Uncasville, Conn. (G Fiume/Getty Images)

She returned to the lineup in 2022 and helped lead UConn to the national championship game the following summer, before tearing her ACL and missing her junior year.

Bueckers’ return is one of the rare pieces of good news the Huskies have received on the injury front, with Azzi Fudd and Aubrey Griffin lost to injuries this season. UConn sits at 22-5.

Baker had the option to return to Connecticut due to a 2022-23 medical redshirt season. She could also suit up for the Huskies for a sixth season if she chooses to take advantage of the COVID-19 eligibility extension.

Longtime Huskies coach Gino Auriemma He sought to quell speculation about whether he would retire, saying he would return next season.

“Yes, I will be back,” Auriemma told reporters.

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