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UConn advances to Final Four, Paige Bueckers, Nika Muhl, and Aaliyah Edwards react | SNY

Apr 06, 2024
Paige, I asked coach the other day, you know, in the 720 days that you played between the NCAA tournaments, how he made sure your spirit wasn't broken and he gave me a very thoughtful answer about how you were a light and always, but he I mentioned that there was a game where he saw them collapse at halftime, um, when they were playing at Tennessee. I think it would be wonderful if he could explain to us what this has been like mentally and emotionally for you and then. Like when the clock hit zero, what was that again tonight, yeah, last year was really, the last two years, actually, have been really challenging for my mind, um, for me, finding joy outside of the game. , um, finding joy in the process, finding joy in trials. and tribulations and I feel like I have had adversity in my path, but at the same time I am super blessed to be in the position where I had free surgery.
uconn advances to final four paige bueckers nika muhl and aaliyah edwards react sny
I received free rehabilitation. I'm surrounded by my best teammates, the best coaching staff, and so many people who have helped me get to where I am today, so I just look at the positive aspects of life and everything I have instead of focusing on the that I don't have, over and over again. I'm just trying to be the best teammate I can be. It could be easy for me to get soaked and angry and just be sad about what life has thrown at me these last two years or I could attack it with the mindset of being a leader.
uconn advances to final four paige bueckers nika muhl and aaliyah edwards react sny

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uconn advances to final four paige bueckers nika muhl and aaliyah edwards react sny...

I'm still in the gym smiling and motivating people and being a leader and how hard I worked because I know people saw me in the gym every day, whether it was Pilates rehab in the weight room with hoodies like that , so that is motivating for others. seeing people too um and today was one of the most rewarding feelings I've ever felt in my life just seeing where I was a year ago today um just starting to do individual workouts um starting on the field, playing basketball again I got the ball in my hands again and I play and now I'm here and with my teammates and my coaching staff I'm going to make it to the

final

four

, so it's been a very rewarding journey and I'm super grateful for everything, uh, the hard stuff.
uconn advances to final four paige bueckers nika muhl and aaliyah edwards react sny
The times made me who I am um and built my faith and built my appreciation for life and my gratitude for anything that gets in my way ni and Aaliyah, you've been a part of celebrations like these before, but that one seemed a little different than maybe the other two, can you explain why and how it felt to just go through that and celebrate with everyone? Yeah, I mean, obviously, every celebration comes with a different story, a different set of challenges that year, um, different people, different relationships. um like Paige said this has probably been the most rewarding it felt different um I would say you know this group is very special we overcame a lot and we learned from it we not only overcame it and um although a lot of people didn't believe it .
uconn advances to final four paige bueckers nika muhl and aaliyah edwards react sny
You know we were going to do this once, we did it and, don't get me wrong, we don't really care what other people think, but at the same time it feels very, very good to be able to prove those people wrong, so I feel. It's part of why it feels so different, yeah, it's a great feeling and I think I'm coming out of what I didn't even say, we've just been through so much this year last year and I think we really had to. work hard for this win and work hard to know how far we've come and obviously you guys see what we do on the court, but it's really behind the scenes that we really pushed ourselves and we really had to.
We've been through a lot and we've been through a lot together, so to be here together and look back and see how far we've come, that's really the most rewarding part of all of this. I mean, you know coach is always honest about what we've done. We already know that we have a short bench and that is never an excuse for us, it never has been, it never will be, but one thing is that when we have a short bench, everyone needs to step up and no one needs to be great, you know , said. everyone just needs to be solid and do the best they can and I think this is a game today where everyone literally did what they do best and I'm very proud of the people coming off the bench um q and ice, I'm I'm very proud of you you know our freshman our freshman the way they moved forward um it's not easy you know this is your first time in this environment um you've never been you know a part of it you don't know what it feels like but um they play like they were in that environment before and I'm so happy and proud of them and super excited for our team Paige in 2021, you won 11 major awards, you were the freshman that everyone was watching and that year.
I don't think your team made it past the

final

four

now that Juju is the one everyone is watching and his team didn't make it to the final four. What advice would you give in this situation to use that as motivation and just? she's still herself yeah I think success is a process it's hard especially as a freshman to lead your team like that and not have experience in this type of environment in this scenario and leading your team you feel pressured, but for her to have the year she had um as a freshman Fearless confident um one of the best players in the country um she has a lot to build on and I know coming here and feeling this loss um we've been a part of that, It's very motivating and allows you to gain experience on how to be better and how to learn from it, so just take the good, continue to build on it and focus on what you need to work on and do that too.

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