UConn junior Stefanie Dolson is as fun-loving as it gets. But over the past couple of weeks, she has exhibited another side to her – toughness and an ability to play through pain.
Dolson, who played 13 minutes, 13 seconds Saturday after feeling her right knee lock up after a collision with a Maryland player in the NCAA Bridgeport regional semifinals at Webster Bank Arena, has been bothered by a sore left foot and a stress fracture in her right ankle.
Dolson said that the stress fracture began to surface during the Big East tournament earlier this month. She underwent three hours of treatment Saturday night with team athletic trainer Rosemary Ragle and did not practice today.
“I am fine,’’ Dolson said. “I got a lot of treatments last night. Rosemary worked on both feet, ankle. And I’m just ready to kind of fight through it and not let it faze me. I’m doing everything Rosemary tells me to and anything that’s going to help me feel better.’’
Dolson, who is averaging 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 26.7 minutes in six postseason games, said that during Saturday’s game against the Terrapins she felt more pain than she has at any point in her career. The stress fracture is something that snuck up on her, but it is clearly what is bothering her most at this point.
“The stress fracture is definitely the worst part because the only way it can heal is kind of with time and rest’’ Dolson said. “And right now there’s not a lot of that. So I’ve just got to push through it and not let it change what I’m doing.
“You just have to manage it. So for certain practices I’m just managing what I’m doing. I’m making sure that I’m kind of learning things still at practice but not going fullcourt drills, just doing halfcourt stuff. But then like today I will do a workout with Rosemary. That’s really all we can do at this point.’’
No matter how much pain she is experiencing Dolson was adamant today when asked if there is concern that the injuries might prohibit her from playing Monday against Kentucky in the regional final or at the Final Four should the Huskies advance for an NCAA record sixth straight season.
“Nothing is going to keep me off the floor and keep me from playing with this team, and making it to the end goal of winning the national championship,’’ Dolson said.