It was destined to be known as The Paige Bueckers Game long before the Hopkins native and her Connecticut Huskies tipped off against the Gophers on Sunday at Williams Arena. But by the time it was over, and No. 8 Connecticut pulled away for a 62-44 victory, it actually turned out to be a fan appreciation day.
Bueckers, UConn coach Gino Auriemma and Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit all saluted the announced crowd of 10,869 that came out to welcome a returning star and to watch one of the storied programs in women’s college basketball up close, but also to support the Gophers.
As Plitzuweit pointed out, “There was a lot of maroon and gold in that room.”
The turnout meant so much to the Gophers’ first-year coach that she grabbed a microphone after the final buzzer, thanked everyone for coming and invited them back.
The announced crowd ranks 20th all time in Gophers women’s history. It was their largest crowd since January...