Dolson Shoots For Second USA National Team At U19 World Championship Team Trials
Colorado Springs, Colo. ē May 22, 2011
Stefanie Dolson recently completed her freshman season at perennial womenís basketball national contender University of Connecticut and completed a standout freshman season for the 36-2 Big East champions who advanced to the 2011 NCAA Final Four. The 6-5 center started in 36 of her teamís 38 games, and averaged double-digit scoring (10.2 ppg.). Additionally, she pulled down 6.1 rebounds a game for the Huskies, and tied for the team lead in blocked shots, swatting 1.2 a game.
Her hard work and strong performance were rewarded at the end of the season with several awards and honors, including being named to the Big East Conference All-Freshman and All-Tournament teams and Full Court Pressí Freshman All-American team.
Prior to her time in Storrs, Conn., Dolson was a 2010 McDonaldís High School All-American, and finished her career at Minisink Valley High School (Slate Hill, N.Y.) with 1,951 points and 1,607 rebounds. Dolson was a member of the 2010 USA Basketball U18 National Team that won a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Dolson averaged 6.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 1.0 bpg. for the Americans, and the golden effort also earned the United States a berth in this summerís 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
This week, Dolson looks to continue her USA Basketball success when she competes in the trials for the USA U19 World Championship Team.
You personally had a very successful freshman season at UConn. What stands out about your performance last season?
I give most of the credit to Maya (Moore). Having a year to play with her was the best thing I could have asked for. Just practicing with her, playing with her, she teaches you so much. She teaches you to go hard in practice, to talk. I think thatís something the committee looks for; youíre always communicating with other girls.
What I accomplished was amazing and exciting. I went in having expectations for myself. I met some of them, didnít meet others, but I think that I had an overall pretty good year.
How has a year of college basketball prepared you for this week?
Anyone who has had a year at college definitely has a different mindset. I think youíre more mature. You have a mentality of going hard every time.
What was it like playing on a team that had more publicity than any other womenís college basketball team?
It was definitely overwhelming at first. Just going anywhere there was media, cameras, microphones, everything. Where I come from, we had one reporter that maybe asked me a couple questions for the newspaper. There, itís crazy. At the beginning I was nervous, not wanting to say the wrong thing. As the year went on, I think I got a lot more comfortable. It got easier, but not necessarily more enjoyable.
Do you feel more prepared after competing with the U18 FIBA Americas team last year?
Last year I came in looking to have fun, but now, I know what it takes to compete in drills, compete in scrimmages. I feel less nervous. I think you feel nervous when you donít feel prepared, so after a year of doing this, I feel prepared and know what I can do.
What are you looking most forward to this week?
Getting the chance to play again; I havenít played in a few weeks. Iím excited to see the girls again. I havenít seen a lot of them in awhile and itís fun to play with them. The whole experience is amazing. I loved last year. It was a lot of fun. Iím really excited for this week, and hopefully more weeks to come.
What are your goals for this week?
I try to take things one step at a time, so right now Iím focusing on just playing my hardest and proving to the committee why I should make the team. If I can, then weíll take it from there.
What is your favorite basketball memory?
Probably winning the Big East Tournament. I had some good times in high school, but nothing compares to the Big East Tournament and the experience that comes with that and being with the girls on that team. It was probably the most special moment of my life so far.
How do you prepare for a day of trials?
Sleep, eat and make sure I look good. You have to have confidence out there. If you look good, you feel good and you play well. I listen to music because my main thing is getting myself in a good mood. If I walk in with a bad mind, things wonít go well. So I do anything to be happy and have a good time.
How did the first day of trials go?
Earlier today was horrible . But I changed it when I got to the airport. I knew I couldnít walk in being exhausted and tired, so I turned it around a little bit. It ended up getting better, and hopefully the rest of the week will continue to get better.