Stefanie Dolson of the Washington Mystics shoots the ball against the Sky last season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

New Sky center Dolson: I have to be me and play my own game

SHARE New Sky center Dolson: I have to be me and play my own game
SHARE New Sky center Dolson: I have to be me and play my own game

When Stefanie Dolson learned she had been traded to the Sky as part of a package for Elena Delle Donne, her initial feeling was one of shock.

Dolson, a 6-5 center, is a self-proclaimed creature of habit. After playing three seasons with the Washington Mystics, Dolson had established a rhythm on the court and in her surroundings.

But as she worked through the emotions of moving to a new team and a new city, Dolson said the idea of replacing the face of the franchise never entered her thinking. She looks at her role as solidifying a post presence Sky coach and general manager Amber Stocks thinks was lacking in the playoffs last season.

The Sky reached the WNBA semifinals despite playing without Delle Donne, who missed the playoffs with a thumb injury after averaging 21.5 points and seven rebounds in the regular season.

Although she is linked to Delle Donne because of the trade, Dolson is keeping things in perspective.

‘‘I am my own player,’’ said Dolson, who was traded to the Sky with guard Kahleah Copper and the No. 2 overall pick in the WNBA draft next month. ‘‘I’ve been just saying, ‘Do what they need me to do.’ They have a good core already. It’s just about fitting in and doing what needs to be done.’’

Dolson averaged 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds last season with the Mystics. She joins 6-7 Imani Boyette in the post, where Stocks envisions both being on the floor at the same time.

Dolson is a 35 percent three-point shooter in her career, and her versatility, court vision and ability to stretch opposing defenses will be used in an offense Stocks expects to be more balanced than it was in the past.

Dolson, who won a pair of national championships at Connecticut, adds another dimension to the Sky, who Stocks insists got better inthe trade.

‘‘Both offensively and defensively, [Dolson] brings multiple weapons to the court,’’ Stocks said.

Although she understands the initial perception of the Sky will be of what they’re missing without Delle Donne, Dolson said she hopes it’s just a matter of time before they can be seen for what they can do with the pieces they now have.

‘‘Losing Elena is a huge part of their team, so there’s definitely a hole that needs to be filled,’’ Dolson said. ‘‘But I don’t think it needs to be filled with one player.

‘‘Without Elena, everyone’s going to have to step up their game a little bit more and do one more thing that they’re not used to. That’s where growth comes into it. It gives us all a great opportunity to develop our games.’’

Follow me on Twitter @JeffArnold_.

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