Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Juniors

#31 C Stefanie Dolson

There's losing weight and getting into better shape and then there's Stef Dolson. According to Geno, the press, the camera, the fans, and my own godmother/aunt, she is an entirely new person. Stef has transformed herself and her body into a work of art: strength, muscle, and energy. Those who questioned if she could ever play sustained minutes in college have all crawled back under their rocks. The disappointment of the last two Final 4's are fresh in Dolson's mind maybe more than anybody else's on this team. Plagued by foul trouble her freshman year, her team fell behind too far to catch up to Notre Dame even with Magnificent Maya's huge second half, and her coming out party during her sophomore year still wasn't enough to power her team past Notre Dame in to the title game. Stef Dolson is on a mission this season. That mission is UConn's 8th National Championship, and Baylor, Griner, Notre Dame, Diggins, and all the rest of the teams/players out there in the NCAA are going to have to pry it from her cold, dead fingers to get it from her. She can finish with either hand, has face-up ability, and has almost every post move in the book. And now that she finally has talented post players by her side in the paint, she won't be forced to deal with double- & triple-teams on a nightly basis. Look for her to lead the team in FG %, average a career-high in points/rebounds/assists, and be in the discussion for All-American honors come seasons end. She is already the Best Passing Center in the country, but Geno's proclamation of Dolson being the 2nd Best Center in the country from last season is about to come true. He's already warned the officials that they better start treating her better, which must mean he sees it coming as well. So watch out America, Momma Stef is on the prowl.

#14 G Bria Hartley

The lone All-American on the squad is slowly but surely creating her own legacy here at UConn. Fresh off her 3-on-3 Gold Medal, the one missing piece of her Husky legacy is a NCAA Championship and if last year was a sneak preview to just how good Bria Hartley truly is then Huskies fans better buckle up and enjoy the ride she is going to take us and her teammates on this season. Bria lives for the big games, the big moments, and the big shots. Unfortunately, last season it was the big shots that failed her, but 2012-13 is a whole new season and a whole new opportunity to show America what we UConn fans already know...the girl is a BIG TIME!! Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins may get all the pub and the subsequent accolades, but in my opinion, Hartley is better and will show it this season. She can pass, defend, handle the rock, score any way she wants and finish through contact (maybe she'll finally start getting "Diggins" calls). There will be no month-long shooting slump this year. Bottom line, Bria has all the tools of an All-American (which is why she is one). Problem was last year's honors felt more like some of the voters said, "We need to pick a UConn player, I guess we'll go with Bria since she scored a lot in games vs. ranked opponents" rather than all of the voters saying, "Bria Hartley is unquestionably UConn's best player and there aren't 10 players in the country better than her". This season, if her troublesome ankle ever fully heals, she will once again be an All-American. This time though, voters will be unanimous in their opinion and if she is left of the AP 1st team All-American list it will be because of numbers (due to UConn's balance and depth), not value! UConn will go only as far as Bria will take them, and I have no doubt she will do everything in her power to take them to Bourbon Street this year to celebrate #8.

No comments: