STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Stefanie Dolson has helped Connecticut to a 133-11 record and a national championship in her four years on the team. But she's also brought to the program something coach Geno Auriemma believes has been just as important — joy.
The Huskies' 6-foot-5 center has starred in a YouTube video dressed as a Dalmatian, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and put "bunny ears" behind the president during a White House photo opportunity.
"There's been very, very few people that I've encountered in my life that have enjoyed the experience more than she has, and brought that kind of joy to the court and to everything else that we do," said Auriemma, in his 29th season at the school.
On Saturday, before UConn's final regular-season home game against Rutgers, Dolson and senor Bria Hartley will have their names added to the "Huskies of Honor" wall at Gampel Pavilion. They'll join just 13 other players recognized as the best in the history of the program.
Top-ranked UConn (29-0, 16-0 American Athletic Conference) also hopes to win a ninth national championship and make another White House visit. President Barack Obama promised that if Dolson comes back, he'll compete with her in a dance-off.
Dolson has scored 1,672 points so far in her UConn career, six points out of 13th on the school's all-time list. Heading into the Rutgers game, she needs just six rebounds to reach 1,000. She also has 340 assists and 230 blocked shots. This season, she recorded the second triple-double in program history, scoring 26 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists in a win over Oregon.
A lot of that success can be traced to her attitude, Auriemma said. While some players treat college basketball as a chore, Dolson comes to practice as if there is no place in the world she would rather be, he said.
While waiting to throw the ball in after a TV timeout, she's been known to break out a dance move on the baseline to the music in the arena.
"That was just something I kind of stepped into and has been my favorite part, just having fun with these girls and making sure they are always having fun, too," Dolson said.