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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Dolson, Hartley back in Connecticut

It's kind of strange to think that Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson will not be teammates this season.

They played together for four years at UConn and then three seasons with the Washington Mystics before they were dealt away in a span of four days.

As luck would have it, both of them made their debuts with their new teams at Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday. Hartley had seven points and one assist in New York's 81-65 win over Los Angeles. Dolson was up next as the Chicago Sky faced the host Connecticut Sun.

The end of the Dolson/Hartley on-court partnership is part of a story that should be appearing on the Register's site shortly.

They both were at the Final Four in Dallas watching UConn's quest for a fifth straight national title end with an overtime loss to Mississippi State. The loss brought back some painful memories as their freshman and sophomore campaigns ended with losses in the Final Four.

"I was standing there during the game and my stomach turned and I felt so sick to my stomach
because I genuinely knew exactly how that felt and how disappointing it is to come back to the
hotel, see your family, friends and everything," Dolson said. "It was really hard and I felt really bad for them.

"It is motivating for them next year and the year after. They have a lot of talent so I am sure
they will be good."

Hartley agrees that lessons that can be learned in a Final Four can prove to be beneficial down the road.

"I always think you need something like that to motivate you as players, my freshman and sophomore years I went through the losses in the Final Four and it motivated me for my last two years," Hartley said. "Those young guys like Napheesa and Katie Lou, it is going to motivate them for the next few years."

Getting to see this UConn team, both Dolson and Hartley came away impressed with what they witnessed.

"I think I liked the fact that they so many players who could play all the positions and switch
everything," Hartley said. "Gabby (Williams) goes out there and she improved so much, I love how much she improved throughout her career and I think she is going to have a really good year."

Dolson liked how the UConn team passed every team before falling in the national semifinals even though the team's three stars (Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck) were the top three picks in the 2016 WNBA Draft.
 
"They proved a lot of people wrong," Dolson said. "Going in, a lot of people doubted them and thought they were going to be not terrible but average (by UConn's standards), thought they would lose to all those top 10- teams and were just waiting for them to get that loss and in a good way it didn't happen. The fact that it ended with a loss, it was unfortunate for them but I was really proud of them, They kept going, kept fighting and I guess ran out of steam at the end."

One last note about tonight's doubleheader - Karlie Samuelson who is the sister of UConn star Katie Lou Samuelson started for Los Angeles and had nine points in 29 minutes.

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