Red-shirt senior Caroline Doty has three times torn the ACL in her left knee since Sept. 7, 2007. It was a second tear that robbed her of the final 22 games in 2008-09. The third tear robbed her of the entire 2010-11 season.
But the injuries did not rob Doty of her competitive fire or her leadership ability. There are players who might have walked away and moved on after four years. Not Doty. Not with a chance to win another national championship available for the taking.
Tonight, when the Huskies host No. 11 Maryland in the Jimmy V Classic at the XL Center, Doty will play in the 100th game of her career.
“I like to think that this will be the best year, but you won’t be able to determine that until it’s over,’’ Doty said. “We’re going at it hard every day, taking it one day at a time, and making each day worthwhile.’’
Doty is a combined 94-5 (.949) in games that she has played. She was a member of back-to-back undefeated national championship teams in her first two seasons (2008-09, 2009-10) and has been to the Final Four in four straight years.
Through the first six games this season, UConn coach Geno Auriemma has been extremely pleased with the way she has played. He said Sunday that he has not seen her look this good since her sophomore season in 2009-10 when she guided the Huskies to a 39-0 finish.
Doty is averaging 5.2 points and 2.5 assists in 17.3 minutes this season, shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range (7-of-16). Yet, it is her leadership that far outweighs any of her statistics.
“My role is that I’m someone that will show up every single day to work really hard and be there for my teammates,’’ Doty said. “I’m not going to be the first scorer. I’m going to look for which of my teammates needs the ball at the right time. If Kaleena (Mosqueda-Lewis) is open, I’m going to get it to her. If Stef (Dolson) or (Breanna Stewart) need the ball down low, I’ll get it to them. I’m going to be the first to run over and help someone off the floor after a hustle play. All in all, I just want to have as much fun as possible.’’
Not only has Doty played well on the court, she has too been blessed with good health. And that just might be the most encouraging part of her season so far.
“This is the longest I’ve been healthy since I’ve been here,’’ Doty said. “I’m comfortable. I know where I’m supposed to be. I know what my role is. I have great relationships with my coaches and teammates. I’m having a lot more fun since I don’t have that mentality, `Am I hurting today? Do I have to worry my knee is feeling weak? Do I have to go to rehab?’ I feel freer and it’s a great feeling. I’m having fun and I hope that shows on the court and I hope my teammates see that I’m a different player than last year in a good way. I want it to end in a championship.’’