UConn women’s basketball team expects more minutes from Paige Bueckers in Big East tournament

UConn women's basketball team expects more minutes from Paige Bueckers in Big East tournament

The No. 7 Huskies enter the home stretch of the season this weekend as the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament with a fully replenished roster including the return of Paige Bueckers and Defensive Player of the Year Big East Nika Mühl.

“I can’t wait to see how we hold up after three days, who will come in and if we can really, really play well as a team or if we can play well as a team and not rely too much on one individual,” said Geno Auriemma after training on Thursday: “It’s been five or six years since we had the ability to put so many good players on the pitch. I hope it pays off.”

Bueckers spent 10 weeks recovering from a broken tibial plateau and torn meniscus before returning to the court in UConn’s win over St. John’s on Feb. 25.

In his first two games, Bueckers had 10 points, five rebounds and six assists in 26 total minutes. While the reigning National Player of the Year was on a 15-minute restriction last week, Auriemma said he expects Bueckers to play more this weekend.

“Today she had a really, really good day. It’s the best she’s watched since she’s been back,” he said. “I don’t see her playing 35 minutes three games in a row, let’s put it that way. I can’t tell you exactly how many minutes, but it will be over 15.”

UConn’s path to winning its second consecutive Big East Tournament title (ninth consecutive conference tournament, including the American Athletic Conference) begins with Saturday’s quarterfinal game at noon against the winner of the first round of the seeded No. 8 Providence against No. 9 Georgetown.

The Huskies have faced both the Hoyas and Friars for the past 10 days, most recently beating Providence on Senior Day, 88-31.