UConn star Paige Bueckers announces she'll return for 5th season on senior night

Paige Bueckers had some good news for UConn fans at her senior night: It wasn't her last senior night.

The former Wooden Award winner dropped a big surprise Friday by turning what seemed to be a farewell speech into an announcement that she will return for a fifth season in Storrs, to the delight of the Gampel Pavilion crowd.

Head coach Geno Auriemma even cracked a smile.

Bueckers went on to score 21 points with eight assists, three rebounds and three steals in an 85-44 route of Georgetown.

Buecker's speech:

"I can't put into words what this program has meant to me, what you guys have meant to me. The best student section in the country, thank you guys. Obviously, these four years didn't go how I planned or how I wanted it to go, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I wouldn't be able to get through what I went through without everybody here.

"I know everybody wants me to address the elephant in the room. Unfortunately, this will ... not be my last senior night here at UConn. I'm coming back!"

Yahoo Sports had Bueckers going second overall to the Los Angeles Sparks in its most recent WNBA mock draft.

Bueckers established herself as the next great UConn player in her freshman season in 2020-21, which saw her enter as the nation's top recruit and end it by winning every National Player of the Year award within reach. She led the Huskies to a 28-2 record and the Final Four, but the season ended with an upset loss to Arizona.

The future still looked bright for Bueckers' sophomore season, with fellow top recruit Azzi Fudd arriving to form what should have been an elite backcourt. That vision was derailed when Bueckers went down with a knee injury in December, but she returned months later and helped lead the team to the national final, in which it was humbled by South Carolina.

Connecticut logoConnecticut logo
Paige Bueckers
G - CONN - #5
2023 - 2024 season

Bueckers missed all of 2022-23 after tearing her ACL. She made her return this season and has played in all 27 of UConn's games. However, with UConn ranked only No. 15 in the country and not looking like a championship contender, it was clear Bueckers would be leaving with unfinished business if she went to the WNBA this spring.