Being arguably the top passing center in the nation sometimes it becomes easy to look for an open teammate rather than to look to take an open shot. Such is the dilemma that Stefanie Dolson has faced at times this season.
Dolson is the first center in UConn history to reach 100 assists in back-to-back seasons. She is averaging a career-high 3.3 assists, and with a total of 113 she needs five more to set a personal single-season high.
Her scoring average is down 1.2 points per game this season to 12.4 from last season. But Dolson has reached double figures in field goal attempts in 13 of the first 34 games this season. She did so in 18 of 38 games a year ago.
“I think she should shoot more,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “I think she should take advantage of every 15-footer she gets. Obviously, when she goes in the lane there’s going to be a lot of traffic in there. There’s nothing you can do about that. That’s just how teams are going to play her. We have some things we’re going to have to do to try and get her more touches in the low post. She just doesn’t think offensively. She just takes what comes and goes from there.’’
Breanna Stewart will get her points. So will Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Yet, the key to UConn reaching its maximum potential offensively seems to lie with Dolson’s aggressiveness.
The Huskies are averaging 87.6 points when Dolson reaches double figures in field goal attempts. They are averaging 79.7 when she does not.
“I think it’s so easy to pass the ball when someone else is open, not realizing that you’re open,’’ Dolson said. “I think I get a little bit overzealous with passing the ball sometimes and I don’t look for my own shot. So I think I’ve been a little bit more aggressive lately.’’
Dolson ended a run of three straight games in single digits in shots by attempting 11 against Rutgers in the semifinals of The American tournament. She then followed with 13 shots against Louisville in the final.
It was the first time that she had attempted at least 10 shots in consecutive games since a season-high run of three straight games Nov. 24 through Dec. 5.
Expect this trend to continue in the NCAA tournament.
“Stefanie is a huge difference, just the way that she plays and when she’s being aggressive shooting it really is beneficial to us because the defenses aren’t sagging off or anything because she can make that open shot,’’ Stewart said. “She’s an unselfish player who’s always looking for her teammates.’’