As time grows shorter in Caroline Doty's career, the swing of emotion on the UConn bench can sway from play to play. Geno Auriemma, whose job it is to coach his players dispassionately, has discovered that Doty sometimes falls into an entirely different category.
Before the Duke game on Jan. 21, Auriemma called Doty into his office and brought the graduate up to date with the facts of life. Her most important job, she was told, was to organize and run the team when she was on the floor.
If she didn't, she probably would not play much.
Then there are times like Tuesday against Marquette when Doty, saddled by three knee surgeries, shows Auriemma snippets of the things she can still do so well.
"I try to thrive off the energy of my teammates," Doty said.
And when he sees it, the boss simply can't control himself.
"Well, it's a funny situation, to be honest with you," Auriemma said after Doty was 4 of 4 from three in 21 minutes. "If Caroline is struggling, I'm anxious to get her out. It's like, 'Why put her through that, she doesn't deserve that.'"
"And when she is playing well, I don't even think about her name or want to take her out until one of the coaches says we've got to get Caroline out of there. ... She's a senior, and when she's playing well and enjoying it, like [Tuesday], 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."
"One of the biggest challenges she has faced the last few years is getting [her game] under control so she can help her teammates," Auriemma said. "That's been difficult, but she's had more success this season [with her injuries]. Her struggles have been amazing. … What she's endured has been kind of an eye-opener for some of the kids."
The importance of Doty as a scorer could be critical as the Huskies pursue an eighth national championship should Bria Hartley not be able to build on her 20-point performance against Marquette.
Hartley, who was 0 of 7 from three Saturday at St. John's, fulfilled the prophecy of sophomore Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis by making 5 of 7 three-pointers against the Golden Eagles.
"A day [like Saturday] really got her down," Auriemma said. "I was happy to see her play the way she did [against Marquette]. I think that fixes [the problem] a lot."
"It doesn't fix it right away, it doesn't cure it completely, but it starts to make your body language better and then you know we are on the right track."
For Hartley, a WBCA All-American as a sophomore, the performance was spiritually elevating after battling a chronically sore ankle since last August.
"I just want to be someone that my teammates can rely on, and I haven't been that lately," Hartley said. "I just came into the gym [Tuesday] and asked my teammates to help me out, encourage me a little bit because that always helps. I just tried to get up as many shots as possible."
Mosqueda-Lewis, the nation's No. 2 three-point shooter, Doty and Hartley combined for 14 of UConn's three-pointers against Marquette. The Huskies shot 65.2 percent from three in the game.
"Ever since they put the line in, I've thought we had a goal to take at least 20 [three-pointers] every game," Auriemma said. "We took 23 [Tuesday]."
DePaul (17-6, 3-6) understands this as well, which is why the Blue Demons have missed senior guard Anna Martin since she bruised her knee at Providence on Jan. 19.
Martin, who led the Big East in scoring last season (19.2 ppg), had been averaging 16.2 points. She is listed as day-to-day, with much of her production taken over by point guard Brittany Hrynko.
"I'm not certain if Anna is 100 percent, or halfway," Auriemma said. "But they've played so many games without her that they are likely used to being a different team."
"But one of the most improved players in the league is their point guard [Hrynko]. She is having a fabulous year, a tremendous year. She has picked up a lot of the slack."