UConn women’s basketball star guard Paige Bueckers, has made it clear that her approach for her final college season will be significantly more aggressive as she pursues her ultimate goal: a national championship. Bueckers, who has had an illustrious yet tumultuous college career, is determined to make the most of her last year at UConn.

“There’s a much larger sense of urgency,” Bueckers said, as reported by Chantel Jennings of The Athletic. “This is my last year to get what I came here for, which is a national championship. … No more ‘Passive Paige.’”

Bueckers, who has faced numerous challenges during her college career, including injuries and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is focused on shifting her mentality to a more assertive playing style. Despite her natural inclination to play as a pass-first guard, Bueckers acknowledges that her team has a better chance of winning when she is aggressive on the court.

“I love to score. I’ve always felt like I’m a pass-first player. I love to get my teammates involved. I love to make sure everybody’s happy,” Bueckers said. “But at the end of the day, everyone is happy when we win, and I think we have a better chance of winning when I’m aggressive.”

UConn coach Geno Auriemma has long encouraged Bueckers to adopt a more aggressive mindset. He believes that while her caring nature is commendable, it’s essential for a superstar to have a killer instinct on the court.

“She’s too nice, too caring about what other people think. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great, great quality. I just don’t know if it’s a great quality for (a) killer superstar,” Auriemma said.

Paige Bueckers’ new approach for a new season

Connecticut Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) dribbles the ball against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the semifinals of the Final Four of the womens 2024 NCAA Tournament.
© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Reflecting on her college career, Bueckers has learned to embrace flexibility and adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Her time at UConn has been marked by highs and lows, from winning national Player of the Year as a freshman to supporting her teammates at the 2024 WNBA Draft instead of being drafted herself due to injuries. These experiences have fueled her determination to make her final season count.

With a roster undergoing several changes, including the departures of key players Aaliyah Edwards and Nika Mühl, and injuries to other upperclassmen, Bueckers’ aggressive play in the coming season will be crucial. She has been preparing intensely during the offseason, focusing on improving various aspects of her game, including her shooting range, ballhandling and playing off two feet.

“I want to be an unselfish player, somebody that people love to play with, but at the same time, I’m trying to balance that with also being like, a killer, a scorer, a bucket getter,” Bueckers said. “It’s always been a battle of me trying to find the happy medium, but I think for the most part from here on out I gotta be more aggressive first.”

As UConn gears up for the upcoming season, Bueckers is channeling her focus into leading her team with a more assertive playing style. Her performance in the last NCAA Tournament provides a blueprint for her approach this season. Averaging 25.8 points, 4.6 assist and eight rebounds per game through five NCAA Tournament games, Bueckers demonstrated the impact of her aggressive play.