NEW YORK (AP) - It’s been a busy week for Stefanie Dolson.
She was part of the NBA All-Star festivities this past weekend in Chicago, as well as being selected to the USA Basketball 3-on-3 qualifying team. The All-Star center also re-signed with the Chicago Sky. The free agent said that she never considered going anywhere else and always wanted to stay in Chicago.
“To know James (Wade) and Michael (Alter), they want to keep me and wanted me to come back. We are trying to build something here,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I am only getting older, so it’s like I want to win a championship. The pieces we’ve moved and things we’ve done has helped us and benefited us. I’m happy to be back in Chicago.”
Dolson started all 34 games for Chicago last season, averaging 9.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and one steal in 25 minutes per game. She currently ranks fourth in the WNBA in field goal percentage, finishing the season with 51.8%.
“Stefanie is a big part of our identity on both ends of the floor, and off the floor as well,” Chicago coach James Wade said. “She has proven to be a crucial piece in our turnaround, and I couldn’t imagine going into 2020 without her.”
The 28-year-old New York native was chosen for the U.S. 3-on-3 team on Monday, along with WNBA players Kelsey Plum, Allisha Gray and Napheesa Collier. They will be playing in India next month hoping to qualify the U.S. for the Tokyo Olympics. This is the first time that 3-on-3 will be an Olympic event.
“It’s huge. The first of anything is always special and unique and for me I’ve been trying out for 5-on-5 forever. Unfortunately my spot is so deep with talent. I know and have known that it would be very hard to make that team. To have this opportunity to put the jersey on and represent USA at the Olympics would be incredible for me. I would freak out if that happens.”
Dolson is aware that the U.S. has to qualify first. The Americans need to finish in the top three in the qualifier out of the 20 teams to make it to the Olympics.
The 3-on-3 rules are made for up-tempo competition. There’s one 10-minute period, making 3-on-3 a lot quicker than its 5-on-5 counterpart. A game can end even sooner if a team scores 21 points in less than 10 minutes. If the game is tied after 10 minutes, it goes into overtime, where the first team scoring two points wins. There’s also a 12-second shot clock.
“It’s so physical and not a lot of fouls called. We made it realistic with the reffing and stuff. It’s really physical, so quick, a different game,” Dolson said.
Dolson played in a few tournaments with her teammates over the past few months and the plan is for them to play together over the next few weeks.
“The more we can play together, the better chance we have,” she said. “We want to learn as much as we can. For me, I know my biggest fault will be my quickness and my conditioning that I can last enough time to be helpful. I know what I can do and how smart I can be. Even though we lack experience we play professionally, know the game, know how to make reads. put the ball in the basket.”
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