When Stefanie Dolson was a freshman at UConn her expectations were very conservative for herself. But she will leave soon as one of the top players in program history.
Dolson had 16 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s 101-42 win over SMU at Gampel Pavilion and now needs 46 rebounds to become just the fifth player in program history with 1,000, joining Tina Charles, Moore, Rebecca Lobo and Jamelle Elliott, whose Cincinnati team the Huskies play Saturday.
Dolson has also scored 1,602 points in her career.
“Did I think I’d have 1,000 rebounds? No. But I will be very excited about that,” Dolson said. “How could I have expected that when I came here knowing I wasn’t very good at it [rebounding]. And I’ve just recently found out how few players have done it. It’s very exciting to think about.”
Dolson says she usually is not a very sentimental person, but she does know February represents the start of the final stage of her career.
“Am I sentimental? Eh, somewhat, it depends,” Dolson said. “I’m not one who gets sentimental in the moment, but sometimes when I am alone in my room, thinking about life, I do get sad [about the end of her career].
“I was sitting with Stewie [Breanna Stewart] the other day and I suddenly turned to her and said, “Stewie, I am really going to miss you.’ And she said, ‘Oh stop it.’ And that was the end of my moment.”
Seven women’s basketball players were among the approximately 300 student-athletes honored at the halftime for achieving at least a 3.0 in the last spring and fall semester: Dolson, Breanna Stewart, Bria Hartley, Tierney Lawlor, Briana Pulido, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes.
“I wanted to stay out on the floor and watch the ceremony,” Geno Auriemma said. “I don’t think we make as big a deal of it as we should. How hard our players work is undervalued and underappreciated.”
Williams in the best place
Gabby Williams, one of UConn’s four incoming freshman next season, will be having her second ACL surgery Thursday at St. Francis Hospital. Dr. Michael Joyce will perform the procedure.
That Williams, who lives in Nevada, is coming to Connecticut is an indication of how much the program values her well-being and how much confidence it has in the surgical team that has repaired many knees in the history of the program.
“She is going to be here [in Connecticut] all summer,” Auriemma said. “It made all the sense in the world for her to come here for surgery and then be able to have the doctor watch her all summer. … If was going to school in Texas, she would probably have it done there. In my mind that’s the smart thing to do. She is part of our program. I don’t give a damn about what the NCAA has to say, since she hasn’t enrolled yet. When a kid signs a letter of intent with us, they effectively become part of our program. We should do all we can to keep her as close as possible.”
Williams, 5-foot-11, had her first surgery nearly a year ago after the initial right ACL injury ended her junior season. She re-injured the knee on Jan. 21 but was allowed to played in two more games before an MRI showed a complete tear. Williams and Courtney Ekmark, another of the four-player class, are expected to attend Sunday’s game against No. 5 Louisville at Gampel Pavilion.
UConn’s 30-game winning streak is tied for fifth all-time in program history. The Huskies put together a similar streak from Feb. 5, 2000-Jan. 13, 2001 … Stewart’s 20 points moved her within 41 of becoming the 39th player in UConn history to score 1,000 points. Tuesday was her 60th game with the program. If she stays on pace she will reach it faster than anyone in program history but Maya Moore, who did it in 55 games. .. Hartley needs one three-pointer to tie Mel Thomas (224) for sixth all-time at UConn. She was 5 of 6 from three on Tuesday. She needs 14 rebounds and five assists to join Diana Taurasi and Moore as the only players in team history with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists. In her last six games, Hartley is 51 of 88 from the field, 21 of 39 from three with 30 assists and nine turnovers… Mosqueda-Lewis is now 66 points shy of becoming the third player on this team (Dolson and Hartley) with at least 1,500 points. No UConn team has ever has three players simultaneously who have done that … The Huskies have trailed for just 30:11 of the first 960 minutes this season. … The Huskies had 31 assists, tying a season-high set at Temple last week. They came into the game averaging 22.1, on pace to set a new program record