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  • STORRS — The path to a starting role for the UConn women’s basketball team this season seemed to be clear of any obstacles for junior point guard Lorin Dixon.

    Starting with the loss of All-American Renee Montgomery to graduation, and coupled with the inexperience of sophomores Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty at point guard and the amount of work Dixon put in during the off-season to better herself, she became the favorite to supplant Montgomery. But Huskies’ coachGeno Auriemma often talks about how fragile things can be, and that’s exactly what happened to Dixon.

    With just six days remaining until the season opener against Northeastern Nov. 14, Dixon suffered a strained left hamstring in UConn’s final exhibition game. The injury sidelined her for the first nine games as Hayes and Doty sped past her in the rotation, leaving Dixon again shrouded in mystery when she returned.

    “Just having gone to (Point Guard College), having been up here this summer, worked hard and then having gotten hurt for the beginning of the season and not being able to play,” Dixon said. “And then coming back now and just having to work my way into everything again, that’s just been a mental thing that I had to overcome and get better at. But I think, as of right now, I’m making the adjustment.”

    Dixon will not be in the starting lineup when the top-ranked Huskies (19-0, 6-0 Big East) host Rutgers tonight at the XL Center in search of their 59th straight win. In fact, barring injury, she is not likely to start any game this season.

    And at this point that is just fine with Dixon, who has embraced her role as a game-changer off the bench. Her numbers do not jump off the stat sheet. She is averaging 2.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 16.1 minutes in 10 games. And she is shooting just 36.8 percent from the field.

    But what Dixon has provided the Huskies when she is in the game has been invaluable. She is consistently making plays in a variety of ways, especially recently.

    “She’s playing great,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

    “And she’s making plays that need to be made. They don’t always translate into points, but I couldn’t be happier with Lorin. I love everything that she’s giving us right now. She seems to have accepted that role that we have for her and is really doing an unbelievable job with it.

    “She knows what she’s good at. She knows she’s going to play and she’s been great.”

    Dixon is tied with All-American Maya Moore for the team-lead with a 2.2 assist to turnover ratio. She has committed more than one turnover in just two games this season and she has committed three turnovers in 70 minutes over the last four games.

    Consistency has been the key for Dixon, which was one aspect of her game she lacked in each of her first two seasons.

    “I feel like I’m playing with a lot more confidence,” Dixon said.

    “I just feel like I’m giving the team what they need. I’m doing all the little things I can do.

    “As of right now I’m happy with the way I’m playing. There’s things I still want to do better, but I’m pretty happy.”

    The Huskies would just be happy if Dixon helps them beat rival Rutgers tonight at the XL Center and stay unbeaten.

    By Rich Elliott, GreenwichTimes.com

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