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By Kayla Goldman
SAN ANTONIO - Caroline Doty is in the Alamo City here for her second straight Women’s Final Four appearance with the University of Connecticut Huskies, but Doty is playing in just her first Final Four.
Doty, who attended Germantown Academy in Doylestown, began her career at Connecticut as the starting shooting guard.
Averaging 8.6 points per game as a freshman, she suffered a season-ending ACL injury on January 17th at Syracuse.
However, despite the injury, the Huskies continued to an unblemished 39-0 record and a sixth NCAA title in St Louis.
She returned to the floor this year as the starting point guard attempting to fill the shoes of the graduated Renee Montgomery, a first-round pick in the WNBA by the Minnesota Lynx.
Doty is averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 assists per game as the floor general for the Huskies, though Sunday night she struggled with an 0-for-6 effort and four fouls in the Huskies’ 70-50 win over Baylor that extended the NCAA record victory streak to 77.
“When you don’t hit shots, it’s going to be difficult,” Doty said of her performance after the game in the Alamodome. “The fouls were costly and as good players you can’t be fouling like that. It was tough because I couldn’t be as physical as I wanted to.
“I had to play smarter and a couple of fouls were dumb on my part,” she continued. “You just have to be conscious of how many fouls you have and then adjust. It is a learning experience and now we move on to the next game.”
She also spoke on having the keys to the offense that Montgomery held in St. Louis a year ago.
“It’s so hard to replace someone like Montgomery,” Doty said.” She was such a talent leader. It’s a scenario where you have to do all you can, but at the same time be your own person.”
Coach Geno Auriemma alluded to Doty’s youth in playing in the final steps to another UConn title.
“This is Caroline’s first Final Four,” he said. “And she’s very emotional and tried too hard, probably.”
Doty is about to complete her first full year of basketball since she competed as a junior in high school.
She tore her ACL prior to the start of her last prep season, repeated the injury during her freshman campaign, and has now been on the floor for every game this year as the Huskies aim to go 39-0 for a second straight season.
“My knee isn’t giving me any trouble,” Doty said of the injuries. “I’m 100 percent. The trainers keep me focused and driven.”
Now that Doty feels secure in her health and has secured her role for the Huskies, she can enjoy competing on the biggest stage for the biggest accomplishment: another championship.
“The biggest difference for me being able to be out there and physically play this year is that I have to be more focused. I have to know everything and I need to be prepared to play,” Doty explained. “When I was on the bench I had to be supportive and cheer, and now I get to be more of an emotional and vocal leader and contribute a little more to hopefully winning a championship.”
That opportunity will come Tuesday night when Stanford takes the floor as the last obstacle in the Huskies’ way for another title.
“Stanford is a great team,” Doty said. “We got to watch them play Oklahoma for a little while earlier tonight and it is going to be an exciting game.”