Dolson shines in victory over DePaul
There's just something about playing DePaul inside Gampel Pavilion that works well for Stefanie Dolson.
Two seasons ago, when the Blue Demons made their last trek to Storrs, she posted a then-career-high 21 points.
When DePaul came back to the UConn campus Sunday night, Dolson threatened to break her now-career-high of 25 points.
In fact, Dolson may well have set a new career mark had she not been pulled in what had become a 38-point game with about 14 minutes remaining by UConn Coach Geno Auriemma.
"It's always tough to play against talent and Dolson is talented," DePaul Coach Doug Bruno said after the game. "Her talent is [versatile]. I mean she's multi-faceted in that she can beat you short of the basket with her strength and size and she can beat you face-to-the-basket with her ability to shoot and pick you apart."
One of those many talents, and perhaps the most impressive statistic Dolson posted against the Blue Demons, is her ability to hit shots from the free-throw line.
Dolson hit her first 10 shots from the charity stripe on the evening before finally rimming out on her 11th and final attempt of the game, giving her a 91 percent performance from the free-throw line.
"I pride myself a lot on that," Dolson said of her free-throw shooting. "I haven't been doing great with my free-throws this year, and I've been practicing a lot and it's good to see that it's been paying off."
Over her first two seasons as a Husky, Dolson hit 81.3 percent of her attempts from the free-throw line.
But coming into Sunday, that average had dropped to just 71.7 percent - a number that she was unhappy with.
"I think I got a little complacent, maybe, I thought it was really good so I didn't practice it as much and it got away from me," Dolson said. "But I refocused and I was like 'I've got to practice my free-throws a lot,' and I did and it's better now."
That rededication to the free-throw and rebuilt confidence in her shooting could be crucial for the Huskies down the stretch as they enter crucial - and potentially close - games.
"Big guys get fouled a lot," Auriemma said, "and if you're not a good free-throw shooter - if you're a big guy and you're not a good free-throw shooter, that's like turning the ball over. Somebody smacks you and you go to the free-throw line and you go 0-for-2, that's the same as a turnover. And the fact that she's a terrific free-throw shooter really puts a lot of pressure on the other team. They have to guard her, they have to be careful around her where some other centers maybe they play a little more aggressive because you don't mind if you foul them."
For those instances down the stretch when Dolson may have to shoot from the line at the end of a tight game, her rebuilt confidence could make all the difference between wins and losses.
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