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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Former UConn star Dolson looking to impress

There are 11 players in the current national team player pool standing 6-foot-2 or taller and six of them are not in Storrs for the U.S. training camp.

The absence of former Olympians Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles and Candace Parker opens the door for others to open the eyes of the selection committee members. Former UConn star Stefanie Dolson is among those looking to make a strong impression to put her name in the conversation not only for the 2016 team but the 2020 squad as well.

"It is a great opportunity," Dolson said. "Obviously I like Tina and Sylvia as people and players but the fact that they aren't here gives me a chance to show how much I have grown as a player and how hard I have worked to get to where I am now. I have to take the opportunity and show what I have. It may not be scoring, it may be screening, getting other people open."

Dolson joins Maya Moore, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi as the former Huskies among the 16 players at the three-day camp. Unlike the other three, Dolson's memories of her time at UConn is still relatively fresh in her mind.

"Thankfully I am still at that point, I am not at the Dee and Sue era where you come back and don't recognize anything," Dolson said. "I feel like I am still at home, I recognize campus so I was on the bus smiling. I love coming back here, it is always fun

"To be able to play with these guys, learn so many things from them, play for Coach Auriemma and all the other coaches here pushing me, I just love being back here in Connecticut."

Dolson, like the majority of the players taking part in the camp, spent the last few months playing overseas. She joined her Washington Mystics teammate Ivory Latta playing in Turkey for Edirne as she averaged 12.7 points aided by Dolson shooting 89 percent from the foul line and added 8.5 rebounds per game.

"We are all coming from different spots right now - overseas, home - it is crazy," Dolson said. "I think that is why we are all professionals, we are all coming here, put everything aside and focus on these practices that Coach (Geno) Auriemma set up for us."

After Sunday's practice was over Dolson made her way to the seats where the current UConn players were sitting. She played with six of the current Huskies including Breanna Stewart, the only college player taking part in the training camp. In the two years since Dolson last played for the Huskies she has seen Stewart take her game to even higher levels than when they teamed up to lead UConn to a 40-0 record.

"She has gotten better," Dolson said. "When I was here, she was a freshman and I was like 'wow, she is good.' But the fact that she has gotten better just shows how much work she has put in, how well the coaches have done pushing her so she doesn't get complacent to be where she was as a freshman. I am proud of her and how hard she has been working so it is always nice to see her play. 

"She came in, when you come to Connecticut you kind of have to have that angst about you that you know you are pretty good but she had the competitiveness also, she didn't give up on plays, she played great defense. That is something that is fun to watch, a player who knows she is good, who works hard and is always competitive with everything she does."

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