Jan. 10, 2018

An All-ACC Freshman Team selection last season, Dominique Toussaint has picked right back up where she left off for her sophomore campaign. Toussaint put in a lot of work in the offseason to be sure she was ready from the first game.

“We focused on what I need to get better at this summer, like my scoring, assists and game I.Q.,” Toussaint said. “Each practice the coaches would pick on those things and push me even harder than they did last year because they expect a lot more. I think that is what contributed to me coming into this year at the same level as when the season ended last year and continuing to get better.”

The Staten Island, N.Y. native currently leads Virginia with 11.5 points per game. She has had several huge games for UVA this year, including a 16-point performance against Pitt to open the ACC season and 18 points against Maryland. She leads the team with 11 double-digit scoring efforts this year.

“We have a knew shooting gun so I have been working on my shooting more, making sure my open shots will go in,” Toussaint said.

When she is not putting the ball in the hoop, she is finding her teammates with a team-leading 62 assists. Toussaint has even elevated her play in the four ACC games, leading the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio with 19 assists to just six turnovers in that span.

“Most of that is game I.Q.” Toussaint said. “I am the type of person that likes assists more than points. An assist to me is just like me scoring a point. I just look for the people on the floor. We have a lot of weapons out there, especially people like Felicia [Aiyeotan] it is easy to get her the ball in the paint. I am always looking for my players and trying to break down the defense. I really like this team. Everyone brings what they can bring on a consistent basis. I am never worried on the court, I always have backup.”

Toussaint has played a large part in UVA’s success this season. The Cavaliers have opened ACC play 4-0, marking the first time since 2000, and it is an exciting time for the team.

“I am feeling really good and confident about the way we have been playing,” Toussaint said. “In the back of my mind I’m thinking we still have better competition coming up so we have to focus on that as well. It is good to start off this well in ACC play.”

Having someone like Toussaint that can score as well as find her open teammates, is a weapon that head coach Joanne Boyle knows is key for Virginia.

“I am extremely proud of Nikki and all that she has done for our team this season,” Boyle said. “She has consistently been a presence for us all year and is really taking charge out on the floor. While Nikki has always been a great scoring guard, I think she has elevated her entire game by making her teammates better with her unselfish play. She is putting in the extra time it takes to be a great player and I think we are all seeing the benefits. Her conditioning is much better this year and she often draws the assignment of handling the opposing player’s best perimeter scorer. I love the balance she has with her teammates on the floor.”

Despite basketball taking up most of her time, Toussaint takes time to relax and one of her favorite ways to do that is by watching movies and television shows on Netflix. This past Halloween, she discovered one of her favorite movie series.

“I love the Saw movies,” Toussaint said. “I think there are seven of them, maybe more. I watch them and wonder how someone planned out all of these movies, because the first movie relates to the last one and the middle movie relates to the fifth movie. It is really confusing and the endings always have a giant twist. It is not even like a scary movie, it is more of a thriller so there is nothing popping out at you but they are really interesting. Around Halloween I was watching them on Netflix. They were so good, I watched them all of them in three days. I really like the concept of how everything is connected. For example, the guy that got caught in the first movie is alive in the last movie and is taking over everything. The concept is just crazy.”

She became interested in the movies because of one coming out this year, but as soon the series started that became the priority.

“There is a movie that came out this year called Jigsaw and I wanted to go see it,” Toussaint said. “I haven’t seen it yet, but my goal was to finish the Saw movies so I could go see that movie. After I saw the second one I knew I had to watch them all.”

Her interests expand beyond just thrillers as she is also an action/adventure enthusiast.

“I am a big movie person,” Toussaint said. “A lot of people on the team watch Netflix but I love movies and television shows. I really like action/adventure movies. I am a big fan of the Marvel movies. I’m excited for Black Panther and Infinity War to come out this year. I don’t know if Marvel made the Netflix series, Bright, with Will Smith but I have enjoyed watching that as well. It is similar to all of those movies. I just really like action/adventure movies because they are really entertaining. When I am watching them, I picture myself being a superhero and being able to have superpowers to save the world. If I could be one of the Avengers, I would definitely be Black Widow. It is an easy choice.”

Movies have always been a part of Toussaint’s life, even as a child she used them as a way to be transported to another place.

“Movies are more interesting than my real life so I think that is what I like about them so much,” Toussaint said. “The lifestyle you see in movies and TV shows is really interesting. When I was younger, I watched a lot of documentaries. That was more because I wanted to see what was happening outside of my small, State Island home. Now I have moved to action/adventure to keep my mind flowing.”

Now that she is in college and taking foreign languages, Toussaint’s interests have expanded into Foreign Films and gets a little help from some of her teammates.

“I am trying to get into foreign films,” Toussaint said. “I don’t have a problem watching movies with subtitles. When I was watching Bright, I had French subtitles on. It was interesting to see that because I am learning French right now in school so I was trying to connect what I have learned to what they are saying and what I was reading. My teammate, Amandine (Toi), is from France and I was looking through her Netflix to see what foreign films she has.”

Learning to speak French is something that hits close to home for Toussaint, whose parents moved to America from Dominica where her extended family still lives.

“My parents are from Dominica so they speak a kind of broken French,” Toussaint said. “When they are speaking to each other or to our extended family, it would help to know French so I could figure out what they are saying. I am enjoying it because it is a cool language to know and you should always know another language.”

Now that she is mastering the French language, Toussaint is hoping to put it to use this summer with a trip to Europe with teammates Lisa Jablonowski and Toi, who are both from Europe.

“Once the semester is over I am hoping to travel with Lisa and Amandine to Europe in May when they go back home,” Toussaint said. “I would go with them and visit different countries. Mostly I want to go to France and see the culture is like there. Hopefully I would know enough of the French language by then that I could have conversations with people while I am there.”

Movies are not just a way for Toussaint to escape, but she is always using them to expand her knowledge, whether it be on world events or learning about other cultures.