Junior center Stefanie Dolson would be the first to admit that her freshman season wasn't all smooth sailing. But that's not unusual for any player -- no matter how highly touted -- making the transition from high school to big-time college basketball. Plus, coach Geno Auriemma has never been one to shy away from tough schedule. Not because he enjoys watching his young players struggle but because, ultimately, it makes them better.
We bring this up in light of Dolson's dominating performance against top-ranked Stanford Saturday; she had 10 points, 14 rebounds and shut down Chiney Ogwumike as much as one of the nation's best players can be shut down.
"I'm proud of what we did," Dolson said of the 61-35 rout. …
"[Assistant coaches Chris Dailey and Marisa Moseley] definitely emphasized what Chiney is good at," Dolson said via the Hartford Courant. "I had a lot of information going into the game. I was able to keep her in front of me. She's definitely a little quicker than me, but I was able to read what she was able to do."
Dolson also understands that two years in college basketball can contain a lifetime of experiences.
"It feels great knowing two years ago I don't know if I could have done that out there," she said. "It feels good to know what I did pay off. Playing someone like Chiney, who is extremely athletic, quick and can still shoot the jump shot. I felt I made her take hard shots."
Funny Dolson should bring that up; here's what we wrote in the summer of 2011 about her freshman season:
"A year ago, the Huskies played Baylor, a game in which then-freshman center Stefanie Dolson appeared over-matched. That wasn't totally unexpected; Dolson was going up against Brittney Griner, one of the best centers in the country. But the experience made Dolson a better, more confident player down the stretch, when the Huskies needed her production because Maya Moore faced constant double-teams or Tiffany Hayes couldn't find her jumper."
It also helped prepare Dolson for Ogwumike, as well as the other obstacles the Huskies will face in the coming weeks and months.