Fans and former teammates cheer on Paige Bueckers at the national championship game

Excitement for Sunday night’s NCAA women’s basketball national championship game built throughout the day on Sunday, and many of the fans in town were especially excited to see Minnesota’s own Paige Bueckers take the court. 

Beforehand, they gathered inside the Minneapolis Convention Center for fun and games. Savannah Johnson is a fan, good friend and former teammate of Bueckers’ at Hopkins.

"She’s very humble, she’s a great player to be with on and off the court, she’s an amazing person," Johnson said.

Bueckers and Johnson played together for three years, winning a MSHSL championship in 2019. Now, Johnson hopes to see her good friend win a national championship, "She’s put in so much work, like so much work, she’s nonstop," Johnson said. "It makes me smile to see one of my closest friends actually succeed in what she wants."

Even those without a personal connection to Bueckers are cheering just as loud, "I’m expecting a rock fight," Bill Healey of Millford, Conn said.

Healey is a big fan and he’s been on hand for his fair share of the action over the years.

"We started going in 2002 down in San Antonio, so we’ve been going for 20 of the last 22 years," he said.

Regardless of a win or loss for the hometown favorite, after years of planning and preparation, the excitement generated by the Final Four has been a win for the city.