Every post player develops at her own pace. There is no growth chart a coach can consult suggesting the norm, whether a player is ahead or behind the pace.
But when you see a player blossom you can tell. And junior Stefanie Dolson is now seemingly in full bloom.
“The average person watching us on TV or in person can see somebody’s athletic ability and go, `Wow, that kid’s going to be a great player,” Geno Auriemma said. “But they never see the kid’s true personality. And that’s what makes you a good player.
“If you have skill, if you have some talent, but no one [a recruiter] knows what the kid’s personality type is, it’s hard to figure it out [potential] when you’re recruiting because you don’t get to know them that much, you don’t get to spend enough time with them. Then when they get here the most upbeat, positive, out-going personalities are the ones that become the best players. And that’s who she is.’’
There is usually always a smile on Dolson’s face. And this season her positivity has combined with her conditioning and skill to turn her into one of the nation’s top players. If not for Brittney Griner, Baylor’s 6-8 senior center, UConn would be looking at its next first-team All-American.
Dolson came into Tuesday’s game against Louisville 24 points shy of becoming the 36th player in team history to reach 1,000 points. She is averaging 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 26.6 minutes with at least five assists in her last five games.
“I think it’s the hard work she’s put in,’’ Auriemma said. “She’s always been an incredibly positive person. She’s always been upbeat. She’s always had a winning personality. You can’t underestimate how much that has to do with being a good player.”