Connecticut star and All-American Paige Bueckers says she's relying on her faith in God after suffering a knee injury that will keep the 2021 national player of the year sidelined for the upcoming season.
Bueckers, a junior guard, missed 19 games last season while recovering from an injury to the same knee but still returned in time to lead the Huskies to the 2022 national championship game, which they lost to South Carolina. She was the consensus national player of the year as a freshman in 2021.
She tore her ACL during a pickup basketball game Monday.
Bueckers, a Minnesota native, posted a message on Instagram saying she believes God is using her injury for good. She lists Proverbs 3:5-6 on her Instagram bio.
"It's so so crazy because you work so hard to get back healthy, you feel stronger than ever, and you are playing your best basketball, and with one sudden movement, it all shifts," Bueckers wrote. "It's hard trying to make sense of it all now, but I can't help but think that God is using me as a testimony as to how much you can overcome with Him by your side."
Bueckers was the No. 1 ranked recruit coming out of high school and averaged 20 points per game her freshman season and 14.6 points last season. Both stats were the best on the team.
"My absolute love for the game and Godly strength will get me back to where I need to be," she wrote. "I've worked too hard for the little kid in these pictures to keep going for the dreams I've had since I first picked up the ball, so why would I stop now? The prayers and love means so much to me, and the doubts that I won't get back to where I was might mean even more. God put a dream in my heart, and even if I have to walk through a nightmare to get it, I'm going to keep believing."
Bueckers also credited God during the NCAA Tournament last March after she scored 27 points to lead her team to an Elite Eight victory. It was the first time she had scored more than 20 points since her previous injury in December, according to Sports Spectrum.
"You never know what the future holds, I just to try to stay where my feet are, just stay in the present, live in the moment," she said after the March game, according to Sports Spectrum. "But I don't know. I can't dream a lot of the stuff that happens to me, which is why I thank God so much because it's just with huge faith, the things I've done in my life. I'm just super happy to be here."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Andy Lyons/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.