Sports have existed for a long time now, and what is most wonderful about the genre, much like popular music, is that even though it seems that it has all been done, it hasn't.

Nobody could have predicted or would have constructed Simone Biles or Patrick Mahomes, and then one day there they were, doing things we would not have imagined.

Biles and Mahomes have joined Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Maya Moore as athletes of recent vintage who exert a gravitational pull on your remote clicking thumb. They are can't-miss performers in a world where you don't have to miss anything, and now another can't-miss, gotta-watch athlete is joining their ranks, and this one was born in Minnesota.

On Monday night, Paige Bueckers scored 31 points, many of them in must-have situations, to lead the second-ranked UConn women's basketball team to a 63-59 overtime victory over top-ranked South Carolina in Storrs, Conn.

Her final shot was a three-pointer that bounced high off the rim before falling cleanly through the net. Her previous flurry of clutch baskets came on contested pull-up floaters to her right, and jumpers coming off screens to her left, and quicksilver drives for layups.

The degree of difficulty on her shots: High. The importance of each one: High. The number of Minnesota-bred basketball players we've seen like her: Quite low.

UConn is the program that produces seemingly a third of WNBA stars and half the Olympic team, but no UConn player has ever done what Bueckers has achieved in the first 14 games of her collegiate career: Scored 30 points in three straight games.

She has accomplished this as a point guard who is sometimes almost too willing to pass, and as a skinny kid who looks nothing like the powerhouse athletes of the WNBA, and as a freshman being handed the reins of the best women's college basketball program of the past 30 years.

Like so many great athletes before her, she appears to be unique.

Consider high school, college, pros and international play, and Lindsay Whalen is the greatest homegrown winner in Minnesota history. She and Bueckers are nothing alike.

Whalen was a good but underrated high school player who played well as a freshman for a bad Gophers team. She didn't become a star until her sophomore season.

Maya Moore may be the greatest winner to play sports in Minnesota. At UConn, she became the first freshman, man or woman, to win Big East Player of the Year, and only the second freshman to make the All-America first team.

Moore, a wing whose primary job was scoring, also set the UConn freshman scoring record with 678 points, or 17.8 points per game.

Bueckers, a point guard, is averaging 21.1 points per game.

After 14 college games, Bueckers is even more precocious than Whalen, and even more productive than Moore.

"There's not much you can say," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''She's that player. She's that player who comes along that people talk about. `Hey, did you see that kid from Connecticut?' She's that kid."

When UConn ran its normal offense on Monday, Bueckers handled the ball. When UConn needed a clutch basket, Auriemma had Bueckers give up the ball and run off picks to get open. Bueckers credited her teammates for setting "a million, trillion screens for me."

She also said: "I went to UConn to play in huge games like this. Every day, every second, I'm just super grateful to be here."

Like Whalen, Moore and so many modern basketball players, Bueckers has bravely championed social justice causes. Her social media posts are a master class in defining white privilege, demanding justice and expressing empathy.

She's a 19-year-old kid who carries the weight of expectations and the self-imposed weight of activism, yet she plays with an endearing joy, just as she did in high school.

My favorite photo of her was taken when she played at Hopkins. She's dribbling past a defender, bouncing the ball high as she changes pace, her eyes wide as if she's just spotted an open teammate, smiling like someone just whispered a joke in her ear.

There's no doubt she's going to be great, because she's already great. Here's hoping she never loses that mid-dribble smile.