By Carl Adamec
STORRS, Conn. — When Caroline Doty swished her third straight 3-pointer in the first 5:04 of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team’s game against Marquette Tuesday, all that was missing was the pep band belting out some “Boomer Sooner.”
It was on Nov. 30, 2008, that Doty, then a true freshman, finished a UConn-best 6-for-6 from behind the arc for what is still her career high of 18 points in a 106-78 win over Oklahoma at Gampel Pavilion. It was part of a run that saw the Doylestown, Pa., native make a school record 10 consecutive treys.
“Ah, the glory days,” Doty said.
The fifth-year senior guard was able to turn back the clock for a couple of hours here Tuesday. She hit all four of her tries from long range to finish with 12 points as the third-ranked Huskies pushed their winning streak to nine with a 94-37 Big East rout of the Golden Eagles.
“Everyone needs shots to go in and things to really click,” Doty said. “I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can and get the offense going.”
Doty entered the game shooting 32.2 percent from behind the arc and was just 4-for-21 in her previous nine games.
But coach Geno Auriemma may have seen this coming, saying on Monday that Doty looked like former Duke standout J.J. Redick in practice.
“I do look up to him,” Doty said. “I’m actually friends with his sister Abby (who is a member of the basketball team at Drexel University in Philadelphia) so it’s funny that Coach referred to me as him.”
Doty, who many times this season has been replaced at the first media time out, did not take a seat Tuesday until the second media break with 11:58 left in the first half and UConn leading 31-6. She returned for a 2:26 stint later in the period.
She was on the floor until 9:14 remained in the second half when she came out for good.
Playing on a three-time surgically repaired left knee, she’s usually not on the floor for long stretches. But Auriemma tried to ride a hot hand.
“It’s a funny situation to be honest with you,” Auriemma said. “If Caroline is struggling, I’m anxious to get her out. You’re like, ‘Why put her through that? She doesn’t deserve that.’ And when she’s playing well, I don’t even think about her knee or want to take her out until one of the coaches says, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get Caroline out of there.’
“She’s a senior and when she’s playing well and enjoying it like tonight, I want her to get every last bit out of it as she can. I want her to experience it because it’s the last time for her.”
Doty knows that’s all part of her basketball life at age 23.
“I know that they have my best interests at heart,” she said. “But when I’m on the court I’m going to give it my all and worry about the aches and pains later.”
Her final trey came from beyond NBA range with 11:35 left and the shot clock running out after teammate Breanna Stewart lost the ball but kept the possession alive by diving and guiding the ball to Doty.
“Stewie did a great hustle job,” Doty said. “The ball was loose and the offense had broken down. For her to dive on it … She was on the ground and poked it out. There were two seconds on the shot clock so all I could do was shoot it. I give that to Stewie and her hustle.”
Sitting out the final nine minutes meant Doty didn’t get a chance to match or beat her 6-for-6 from the Oklahoma game. Actually, one of her teammates almost did in the first half.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis made all five of her tries from long range in the opening 20 minutes as UConn built a 62-17 lead. But the sophomore missed her only attempt of the second half with 17:25 left.
Mosqueda-Lewis, who leads the nation in 3-point shooting at 51.1 percent, reminded Doty after the game how close she came.
“I didn’t realize it,” Doty said. “But I wouldn’t mind if she went 6-for-6, 8-for-8, whatever. She’s a great shooter. I wouldn’t be surprised if she got it at some point.
“Kaleena’s so versatile, it’s ridiculous. She’s so confident and reliable and she’s so valuable on the floor. She can score anyway she wants if she really wants to. She’s a threat that is hard to stop.”
UConn (21-1 overall, 8-1 Big East) finished 15-for-23 from 3-point land. The 15 treys matched the second-most in program history. The school record is 18 set against Syracuse on Jan. 17, 2009, in Hartford. Doty made five 3-pointers in the first half that day, though it was also the day she suffered the second of her three ACL tears.
But there were no tears Tuesday.
At halftime, Doty, who earned her bachelor’s degree last summer and is now working on a masters degree in educational psychology, was one of five Huskies honored for earning at least a 3.0 grade point average in either the 2012 spring or fall semester.
It was a game that left Marquette seeing not red, but Oklahoma crimson and cream.