Caroline Doty is back. After a 10-month layoff recovering from her third ACL injury, Doty, the Huskies' sharp-shooting point guard and trick-shot artist, can finally play basketball beyond the 2-on-2 half-court restrictions she had faced in the months since beginning her rehab. Starting in July, she'll resume full-court workouts in preparation for another Huskies national title run.
"It's been a long year [of recovery], but I feel well-prepared to return," Doty said Friday. "[Last year] I had the rare chance to sit back and see exactly what coach [Geno Auriemma] wants on the floor. It was a great learning experience. And now all I want is to get back on the floor."
While sitting on the bench injured is the last place a player wants to find herself, Doty used it as a learning opportunity.
"I'm not sure how much it will help my physical skills, because that all will come though repetition in practice," she said. "But my mental skills will be greatly improved by the opportunity to observe things and having things in the back of my mind that coach would say in different parts of the games or practice.
"I'm lucky, in a way, to have been in the background, take a step back and take a look at things outside of the box. I made sure I took advantage of everything I could. But you don't get better as a player unless you have the advantage of being out on the floor with your team."
And that will start this summer, when Doty travels with her UConn teammates to Italy and Greece to play some exhibition games. The plan for the regular season is to have Doty assume her point guard duties, which will allow Bria Hartley -- who manned the position admirably as a freshman in 2010-11 -- and Tiffany Hayes to take on other roles in the offense.
In March, Auriemma called Doty "…a really good player as a sophomore because she missed a lot of time as a freshman. But she really didn't know the game that well at the time. Now, I think she's going to be an unbelievable player next year."
Doty is ready to get back on the court, too. And any trick-shot videos she might make in the future will be because she has a few moments away from basketball, not because she's killing time while recovering from an injury. "You know, you can only rehab for so long," she said. "This year, I'll be focusing on my game, but if there are a few free minutes here and there, maybe I try something new out."