Professional basketball is on an upswing in the District of Columbia. Its NBA team, the Washington Wizards, are back in the playoffs for first time in 6 seasons (the intervening 5 seasons were so bad that it felt like 20). Its WNBA team, the Washington Mystics, rebounded from two horrific seasons to return to the playoffs in 2013.
The Mystics have now added a championship pedigree to their roster in the form of talented, supremely fun-loving, and lightly-inked Stefanie Dolson, the ferocious center on the the University of Connecticut’s back-to-back NCAA Championship teams (including this year’s 40-0 squad). Sorely lacking a reliable inside presence (outside of hybrid center/forward, Crystal Langhorne, who has since been traded), Dolson brings a strength to the paint that can help take the Mystics to the next level. If nothing else, Stefanie will having fun doing it.
Stefanie has been ballin’ for years. As a high schooler at Minisink Valley High School in New York, she put her height to good use in both volleyball and basketball. In her prep basketball career, she scored nearly 2000 career points and hauled in more than 1600 rebounds, leading her school to 4 straight championship game appearances (I have not been able to find out if they won any of them)
Stefanie’s on-court skills got her named to the prestigious McDonald’s High School All-American team and she more than held her own in its All-Star Game. Off the court, Stefanie excelled in the classroom, earning membership in the National Honor Society. Stefanie’s success brought her to the attention of UConn’s legendary, and mercurial, coach, Geno Auriemma, who brought her to Storrs, Connecticut, where she started as a freshman.
In her first two years at Storrs, Stefanie did not get to experience a National Championship, which is something of a birthright for the Huskies. Both times, her UConn team fell in the Final Four. She did manage to make the BIG EAST All-Rookie as a freshman and the All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention squad as a sophomore. Her upper class years would know no such disappointment.
As a junior, Stefanie progressed to making All-BIG EAST First Team and helped lead the Huskies to a dominating 33-point victory in the National Championship Game against Louisville (and “New 2 Tats” cutie, Shoni Schimmel). Stefanie’s strong inside game evolved to a whole other level as a senior. In being voted Division I Defensive Player of year, she led UConn to only the second 40-0 season in NCAA history, capping it with another dominating title game victory, this time by 21 points over Notre Dame. Not long after he capped off her collegiate career in fine style, she was drafted 6th overall by the Washington Mystics and looks to bring that championship fire to the District.
Stefanie’s body art appreciation dates back to high school. When she was 16 years old, she and her sisters went to get tattooed together. Stefanie got a constellation of stars and the word ‘Laugh’ (representative of her personality) inscribed on her right foot. You can see this cute tattoo below.
After her junior year at UConn, Stefanie commemorated winning the National Championship in New Orleans by getting a Fleur-de-lis on the back of her left ankle. It is partly visible when she battles Jimmy Fallon in a ‘dance off‘ on the “Tonight Show”.
You can follow this newest Mystic on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/bigmamastef