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AP file photo by Frank Franklin II / Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers, who missed 19 games last season as a sophomore due to injury, will be sidelined for all of the 2022-23 season because of a torn ACL in her left knee.

STORRS, Conn. — University of Connecticut women's basketball star Paige Bueckers tore the ACL in her left knee during a pickup game and will miss the entire 2022-23 season, the Huskies announced Wednesday.

UConn's release stated that Bueckers was injured Monday and underwent an MRI that evening. It did not say where the junior guard from Hopkins, Minnesota, was playing when the injury occurred. It was the same knee she injured last year, causing her to miss significant time.

In a statement posted on her Instagram account, Bueckers said she is leaning on her faith to move forward.

"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," she 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 named the AP national player of the year two seasons ago, becoming the first freshman to earn that honor. She averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game during that 2020-21 season.

She missed 19 games last season because of a left knee tibia plateau fracture and torn meniscus sustained in early December. However, Bueckers returned to lead the Huskies to the NCAA tournament's Final Four, where they lost to South Carolina in the title game at Target Center in Minneapolis, which is 10 miles from her hometown.

She finished the season with per-game averages of 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

"We're all devastated for Paige," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in the release. "She's worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and this is an unfortunate setback. Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player, but she's a better person and teammate and it's really unfortunate that this has happened to her. We'll miss her presence on the court, but she'll do everything she can to still lead and help her teammates this season. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better and stronger."

UConn said Bueckers will undergo surgery Friday at UConn Health in Farmington.

"There is going to be good days and there is going to be bad days but my absolute love for the game and Godly strength will get me back to where I need to be," Bueckers 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."

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