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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Upcoming Senior Night game to be strange for Doty, Buck

Had circumstances played out differently, Caroline Doty and Heather Buck would be a mere nine days away from their final game at Gampel Pavilion.

However, the combination of Doty's battles with ACLs and Buck needing an extra year of seasoning means that neither will be taking part in Senior Night festivities before the Feb. 18 game against St. John's leaving Tiffany Hayes as the only player to be honored before the Huskies' final game of the season at Gampel.

"The fact that I can't walk with Tiffany, we came in together ...," Doty said. "I think we had like (four) girls come in together and now it is just Tiffany walking. It is going to be an emotional time because we did grow up and we have been through so much together. I will probably cry, it will be a special moment. I know she is going to do great things in the future but we still have the whole postseason but just to know it is going to be that last (Gampel) home game is going to touch our hearts."

Although the persistent knee issues have forced Doty to miss 61 games since arriving at UConn, she has no second thoughts about leaving at season's end.

"I want to try to milk this for as long as I can," Doty said. "It is too much fun not to stay."

Doty certainly had fun in her most recent game, playing a season-high 35 minutes against Louisville even though she was in pain and limited in the practices leading up to the game.

"It felt to play again, it's been a while since I played that much in a game," Doty said. "I felt good, I felt fresh on the court. We went on the lockeroom and put ice on that knee. I was definitely exhaused after it. During the game I didn't feel anything, I felt great. The whole adrenaline just kept the mind right in terms of staying focused on doing the right things on the court.

"I was going to play no matter what. These games are getting crucial now towards the end of the season, we want to keep getting better and keep improving. To go up against a physical team like that, other teams are going to be as physical and just to be able to prepare and come out and play the way we did get a litle taste of it."

Doty did not practice on Thursday but it was more of a precaution and a chance for her to rest the knee with games cpoming up against Georgetown on Saturday and at Oklahoma on Monday.

"It is nice, it was much needed rest," Doty said. "We need to get our minds right and get the kinks out of the way and get reasy for Georgetown which is a really good team. Definitely my body's not the same as it was freshman year but I feel good. I am ready to go. If they told me to practice today, I would be ready to practice. I am going to follow the rules and see what my body gives me and go with it."

Doty figures to be a key part of the 2012-13 Huskies but Buck's situation is a little more unclear. With the emergence of freshman Kiah Stokes, Buck has failed to hit double-figures in minutes played since a Jan. 10 game against Providence. Add in the arrival of highly-touted recruits Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck, playing time next season is going to be difficult to earn but Buck never wavered in her decision to stay at UConn for five seasons.

"They will be honoring just one senior, Caroline and I will be back and the original class of 2012 has slowly dwindled," Buck said. "As soon as Coach presented it as an idea, I was all for it and have been ever since."

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