By Joseph Staszewski
Dominique Toussaint didn’t earn her scholarship to the country’s top women’s basketball conference overnight.
She was not one of the athletes, many of whom have walked the same halls at Christ the King, who were dubbed high-major player before they played a high-school game. While Toussaint was certainly a Division I prospect, she gradually improved her game and her stock to earn the chance to verbally commit to the University of Virginia earlier this week.
“I was sort of a late bloomer,” she said.
The 5-foot-10 point guard and four-year varsity player picked the Cavaliers of the ACC over Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Northwestern. She didn’t plan on committing this soon, but her official visit to Virginia in June just kept her thinking it was the place for her. She immediately bonded with the players and head coach Joanne Boyle and her staff and loved the school’s academic prowess.
“There were no awkward movements,” Toussaint said. “There was not a moment where I felt uncomfortable.”
The Cavaliers didn’t start recruiting Toussaint until late in her junior season, during which she led Christ the King to the state Federation Class AA final. No one ever questioned Toussaint’s abilities as a shut-down defender and confident ball handler, but big-time schools needed to see her prove herself as on offensive player. Gradually she became a complete player.
“She’s become more confident and she’s built it slowly,” Royals coach Bob Mackey said. “She didn’t try to do it all in one night.”
Toussaint worked tirelessly on her jump shots and improved her ability to finish at the basket. Toussaint herself didn’t blame coaches for waiting to see how she developed before buying in. Many did after watching her play with her Philadelphia Belles team in April at the Boo Williams tournament.
“You knew she was a great athlete,” Mackey said. “She had to become a great basketball player.”
Toussaint, the TimeLedger Newspapers reigning All-Queens Player of the Year, had a breakout season last year with the Royals. She averaged 21.5 points, 3.2 assists and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Toussaint scored 14 of her team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter of a Federation semifinal victory against South Shore.
Toussaint can now focus her attention on other goals since her college destination is decided. She wants to finish the job and bring home the Royals first Federation final since 2010 and add one more individual honor to her resume before she heads to Virginia.
“There is just a weight off of one shoulder because on the other shoulder I still want to make All-American,” Toussaint said. “It’s only one shoulder lifted.”