Paige Bueckers' highly acclaimed debut for the nation's marquee women's college basketball program will finally be showcased Saturday.
The nation's No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2020 will make her initial appearance for Connecticut when it hosts Massachusetts-Lowell at noon at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn.
To watch Buecker's debut for UConn at noon, download the FOX Now app here.
The River Hawks were a late addition to fill a void in Connecticut's schedule. UConn's first four games were either canceled or postponed because of a member of the program testing positive for COVID-19.
"Paige is definitely itching to get back out on the court," said her father, Bob Bueckers. "That is her element."
It's been a long time coming for his daughter, who arrived on campus at the end of July. The Huskies have been on the court practicing in one way or another without a game since Sept. 1.
Bueckers last played in a game on March 12, when Hopkins defeated Stillwater 66-40 in the semifinals of the Class 4A state tournament. The next day the Minnesota State High School League canceled the rest of the tournament and the winter sports season because of the pandemic.
"We've had way too much time on the court without any games," Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said. "I don't know where anybody is mentally. My expectations are not very high."
That doesn't mean the 5-11 Bueckers won't be at her best. She is one of 20 watch list candidates for the 2021 Nancy Lieberman Award, presented to the top point guard at the Division I level.
"When she is on the floor, all the players on the floor with her are better," Auriemma said. "She is actually a little bit better basketball player than I thought she was, and I already thought she was really good."
Bueckers is considered to be the most promising player out of high school for the Huskies since Breanna Stewart, who was the first overall pick by the Seattle Storm in the WNBA draft in 2016.
"She is very humble," Auriemma said. "She doesn't feel the need to go around telling everybody how good she is."
Bueckers is also already drawing comparisons to Huskies legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, both No. 1 overall draft picks in the WNBA.
"Being compared to other players is natural. It's part of sports," Bob Bueckers said. "She is not Breanna, Sue or Diana. The goal is to be as great as she can be."
That doesn't mean Bueckers' game is flawless.
"If I could ever get her to get her hands up on defense a little bit, that would really be helpful for me," Auriemma said. "That would make her a nicer kid in my eyes."
Despite sparse in-person crowds at games to start this college season, Bueckers has amassed plenty of fans. She has nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram, more than 32,000 on Twitter and another 1,300 on her Huskies' Facebook fan page. All before playing her initial game at the collegiate level.
"Paige is endeared by a lot of people," Bob Bueckers said. "She celebrates her team and teammates' successes. She is selfless. You get a sense of that when she is on the court. She is having a blast out there."
Bueckers led Hopkins to five consecutive Class 4A state championship games and concluded her prep career riding a 62-game winning streak. She averaged 21.4 points, 9.4 assists and 5.0 rebounds during her senior season to earn Gatorade National Player of the Year as well as its female athlete of the year.
The floor general also was a member of the USA Basketball squads that won the gold medal in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) under-17, -18 and -19 world championships.
"She puts things into perspective," Bob said. "She says it best when she says, 'I haven't done anything yet.' That is the way she honestly feels."