Stefanie Dolson is elevating her game on and off the court this offseason

In coach James Wade’s system, Dolson primarily is used as a pick-and-pop player. With her trainer, she’s tapping back into her abilities on the block.

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WNBA Finals - Game One - Chicago Sky v Phoenix Mercury

Photo by Mike Mattina/Getty Images

Stefanie Dolson opted not to head overseas like most of her Sky teammates, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t getting in work.

Complacency is something Dolson fears. After the Sky’s championship season concluded, she spent a couple of weeks with family before getting back to work. The difference for Dolson is, that work has been with a personal trainer.

“Now that I’ve [won a WNBA championship and an Olympic gold medal], what am I going to do next?” Dolson said.

Her focus right now is adding different aspects to her game.

In coach James Wade’s system, Dolson primarily is used as a pick-and-pop player. With her trainer, she’s tapping back into her abilities on the block.

“For me, [this offseason is about] expanding my post moves,” Dolson said. “Having more in my back pocket that maybe people don’t know I can do.”

Last season, Dolson averaged 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 20 minutes. She began the season starting for the Sky before transitioning to a role coming off the bench following the Olympic break.

Wade said Dolson’s impact on the Sky can’t be overstated. That was never more apparent than during the championship run, specifically in the Finals against the Mercury.

“I talked to Stef and said, ‘You’re going to be big in the [Finals]. We’re going to need you,’ ” Wade said. “She looked at me dead in my eyes and said, ‘I got you.’ ”

In Game 4, Dolson had the go-ahead layup late in the fourth quarter and another on the next play to put the Sky up four. Those two floaters in the paint are shots Wade said she didn’t make against Connecticut in the semifinals.

He took part of the responsibility, saying that Dolson is a rhythm shooter and he didn’t allow her to get into a rhythm in that series.

Dolson prides herself on being a player who shows up for her team however she’s needed. Now in the offseason, she’s showing up for herself.

When she was younger, Dolson always got the advice to pursue broadcasting after her professional career was over. With her energetic personality, it’s easy to see why.

Dolson realized as she got older that being in front of the camera is not where she’s at her best. Inspired by a few of her personal relationships and experience dating coaches, she began to see her own potential in leading a team. So she started devising a plan to put herself in a position to be ready for a coaching career once her playing days are over.

“If I’m not going overseas, what am I doing to not only make myself better but set up my future,” Dolson said.

She was set to begin shadowing coaches during their preseason training camps this year, beginning with UConn and her old coach, Geno Auriemma, but the Sky’s championship run slightly cut into those plans.

Instead of partaking in coaches meetings, Dolson will be joining a few programs in the coming weeks. She will be at UConn this weekend and has plans to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to shadow Badgers coach Marisa Moseley and the coaching staff at Ohio State.

Dolson, along with most of the players on the Sky’s roster, will be an unrestricted free agent in January. It’s the first time she will experience the fullness of the free-agent process.

In 2020, when she re-signed with the Sky, it was a very quick process because she already decided she wanted to return to Chicago, and she knew Wade wanted her back, as well. This year, things are slightly different.

Although Wade has said he wants Dolson back in a Sky uniform, the question is, will he be able to afford to keep her.

“We just won a championship, so it’s kind of hard to not come back,” Dolson said. “We’ve already gone up in money in the amount that we’re paid. If you take a dock to be on a really good team, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

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