August 24, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Paige Bueckers cleared, UConn foreign tour and new faces around the BIG EAST

Host Natalie Heavren discusses all things BIG EAST with Tee Baker

Earlier this month UConn departed for its foreign tour and UConn guard Paige Bueckers was cleared for full-contact play after tearing her ACL in August 2022. BIG EAST beat writer Tee Baker joins host Natalie Heavren to discuss everything from UConn updates to new coaches and players around the conference.

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First, Tee shares how the energy around the UConn program has shifted since the return of Paige Bueckers and what it means for this season’s upcoming roster.

“Obviously, she’s an incredibly talented player. We know she came in as a generational prospect, got [national] player of the year her freshman year and then was out most of her sophomore and all of her in her junior season. But in addition to being a great player, she’s also the leader for this team. She brings a light energy to the team. You can just tell that the vibes are really different when she’s there. And what it means for the team is that they’re going to have to figure out how their rotations work now with several guards — they have obviously Nika Mühl and Azzi Fudd returning, but also three incoming freshmen KK Arnold, Qadence Samuels and Ashlynn Shade.”

Tee Baker on Paige Bueckers’ return

Later, Tee and Natalie discuss the three new head coaches headed to the BIG EAST this upcoming season: Erin Batth (Providence), Tasha Butts (Georgetown) and Billi Chambers (Xavier). Tee shares their thoughts on what each coach brings to their respective program and to the conference.

“I think as a group [of new coaches], I’m just really excited to see, in particular, these women taking these roles because they have basketball experience, they’re younger coaches and they are — importantly, all three of them are Black women…I think we’re seeing that in the coaching landscape — not just more women in leadership, but Black women in leadership. And I think it’s incredibly important. We need coaches to be representative of the players they teach.”

Tee Baker on the BIG EAST conference’s new coaches

With the women’s college basketball season approaching, you don’t want to miss this episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball.

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