Women's Basketball Notebook: Hartley, Dolson leave emotions on the sideline on Senior Day
There were flowers, music and even a little dancing during UConn's Senior Day ceremonies on Saturday afternoon.
But after Stefanie Dolson shimmied her way to midcourt and Bria Hartley triumphantly pumped her framed jersey overhead, there was an eight-minute break and then a game to play.
The top-ranked Huskies won it, 72-35, over No. 24 Rutgers, but it took the two seniors a few minutes to regroup and hit their usual stride.
For Hartley, it took nearly 10 minutes to get a bucket, but that first mak-a left-wing 3-pointer-helped shake the emotions. She tallied a team-high 14 in the first half and finished the game with 20.
"When you have big games or whatever, just when you hit that first shot it's just like, 'OK, let's go,'" Hartley said. "You get in game mode and all the other stuff is just like peripheral stuff, you zone that out and just focus on the game."
Dolson tallied the Huskies' first two points of the game with a pair of free-throws and finished with just six points, though she also grabbed 10 rebounds to go with two steals and two assists.
"For me, I had a good game tonight," Dolson said. "I don't need to score in double figures all the time because we have such scorers on our team. You want to play well for everyone, for the fans and for everyone being our last home game, so I think Bria and I played our best."
The senior center also managed to sweeten her final regular season game at Gampel Pavilion by making a bit of history.
With 3:03 left in the first half, the center grabbed her sixth rebound of the day and 1,000th of her career, becoming one of just five Huskies-along with Maya Moore, Rebecca Lobo, Tina Charles and Jamelle Elliot-to ever hit the mark.
"She didn't strike me as a great rebounder her freshman year," UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. "It's just taken a while for her to understand, to go get the ball. I'm just really proud of her because that wasn't one of her strengths coming out of high school and she's worked really, really hard on it. She deserves it."
After four games off due to a bout with mononucleosis, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis returned to the court Saturday afternoon. The junior forward got a start and 27 minutes, but showed some signs of rust.
"It was alright," Mosqueda-Lewis said of her return appearance. "It wasn't the best that I want, but it's going to take some time and I think I did well for my first day back."
The junior forward racked up seven points on 3 of 10 shooting and went 1 of 7 from behind the arc. She also added three rebounds.
"I had three turnovers, so I've got to make sure that I'm not trying to over-force the ball in places where it's not there," Mosqueda-Lewis said. "And I want to be a little more active on the offensive and defensive boards."
Mosqueda-Lewis did say that she was pleased with how she fed the ball into the post and how she played defensively. Auriemma quipped that the Huskies needed her lackluster shooting performance to help lower the team's average.
"I should tell her this isn't baseball, you don't get to the Hall of Fame by going 3-for-10," Auriemma joked before saying he was pleased to get her extended minutes in an effort to get back in game-shape.
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