Paige Bueckers’ March Madness Diary: Gearing up for the match

Editor’s notice: UConn Huskies star Paige Bueckers is checking in periodically in the course of the NCAA Tournament for The Associated Press. She is recovering from an ACL damage.

I’ve at all times been a fan of March Madness.

Growing up I bear in mind watching UConn personal it. Sure, I bear in mind Stewie (Breanna Stewart) successful 4 in a row, however my first reminiscence was when Stefanie Dolson helped the Huskies win. She was my favourite UConn participant rising up.

Fast-forward to the previous couple of years after I’ve really bought to expertise enjoying in it myself. It could not have been the norm with my first 12 months being within the San Antonio bubble due to COVID and final season I used to be getting back from damage, nevertheless it’s an incredible feeling to play on the sport’s largest stage.

You work so arduous as a competitor to play on this and win on the finish of the season.

As lots of you already know this 12 months I’m out recovering from a torn ACL damage that I suffered over the summer time. I’ve been working arduous during the last six-to-seven months on rehabbing. There’s nonetheless a technique to go, however every single day I’m getting sturdy and more healthy. I’ve been capable of do extra basketball drills throughout observe, however nonetheless am a bit approach from contact.

I’ve trusted my religion and know that God does the whole lot for a cause and that’s helped me by means of this. Even although I can’t play I’ve discovered different methods to assist the group. You don’t see sure issues whenever you’re enjoying and I’ve damaged issues down on the bench giving suggestions right here and there. I’d quite be “Player P” than “Coach P” however now I do what I can to assist us win.

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I discovered final 12 months by no means take something with no consideration after I went down with an damage and was lucky sufficient to return again and play in my hometown of Minneapolis for the Final Four.

The season is lengthy and grueling and a few folks get drained, and I remind them that they’re blessed to play basketball and play right here at UConn.

I additionally know that I can nonetheless be a constructive function mannequin for teenagers whereas I’m not enjoying. I bear in mind after I was younger attempting to get Maya Moore or Lindsay Whalen’s signature and the way particular that made me really feel. Whenever I’m at video games, I take a couple of minutes and take selfies with folks and signal autographs.

I can be a task mannequin in different methods. My damage is sadly too widespread in ladies’s basketball and there are lots of others who’ve gone by means of it. It’s a protracted course of and I hope my restoration will help encourage others to maintain their religion and proceed to work arduous to get again wholesome.

Obviously, we have now one aim in thoughts and that’s successful a championship, however affiliate head coach Chris Dailey does a terrific job of serving to us have enjoyable, too.

The different evening we had dinner at Coach’s (Geno Auriemma’s) restaurant and performed a thriller sport with a pajama occasion theme the place we had to determine who the “Riddler” was. Everyone on the group was assigned a task and coach was on the facet not enjoying, however stirring the pot attempting to distract everybody.

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There’s little question that Amari (DeBerry) and Aaliyah (Edwards) had been probably the most dedicated to their roles and costumes.

Of course Azzi (Fudd) was the perpetrator we needed to guess. It was a enjoyable evening.

CD places these items collectively to assist us get out of our residences the place we spend a lot of the day watching basketball. Of course, that’s half the enjoyable of March Madness — watching all of the video games. We’re particularly excited to observe our males’s group play.

Until subsequent time, go Huskies!

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