"It's a great ending, but it's coming to an end and that's when it hit me really hard."
Dolson and Hartley didn't say anything to each other before the game about making their swan song.
"It was unspoken," Hartley said. And they hugged as the clock wound down on their second title.
Connecticut sophomore Breanna Stewart, who was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player for the second year in a row, assured Dolson on Monday night that the Huskies would send her out with another title.
"I told her, 'I got you Stef, I got you,'" Stewart said. "I just wanted them to know that we had them. That we didn't want to send them off on a bad note."
Dolson said she felt her teammates playing for her and Hartley the entire night.
"I was thanking them most of the game for helping me to get a national championship in my senior year," Dolson said.
The 6-foot-5 Dolson arrived at Connecticut four years ago as a project for Auriemma. She needed to get in better condition, improve her fitness in order to be as effective inside as the Huskies expected. She finished as a team leader, a tone setter, a four-time Final Four attendee, a two-time All-American and a two-time national champion.
Hartley, an All-American as a sophomore, pushed through an ankle injury a year ago to contribute to the Huskies title run. She also closes her career as a two-time All-American, and ranked second on the team in scoring this season behind Stewart at 16.2 points a game.
Dancing up the ladder to cut down the nets on Tuesday night seemed like the appropriate way to finish for Dolson, who had challenged President Obama to a dance contest if the Huskies returned to the White House. (Last July, she infamously gave him bunny ears while UConn was being honored in Washington D.C.)
Hartley, meanwhile, was still sorting out her emotions when it was all done.
"I can't believe it went by so fast," Hartley said. "It sucks. But you only get four years. I hope I made the most of it."