On Sunday afternoon, Virginia women’s basketball senior Dominique Toussaint will exit the tunnel and run onto the court at John Paul Jones Arena one final time. It will be the 114th start for the guard who has scored 1,298 points for the Cavaliers heading into Thursday’s game with Pitt.
“It’s been a great experience honestly,” Toussaint said of her time at UVA. “I think that my past four years here have told me a lot with all the experiences we’ve been through. I think my four years have really prepared me for life ahead. I feel very confident with the experiences this program has given me.”
Toussaint may just be saving her best for last. She entered the week after posting a career-high 29 points and adding seven assists to guide the Cavaliers past Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Sunday. The seven helpers moved Toussaint past Tammi Reiss into the top 10 in career assists at Virginia.
“Well, first things first, I love assists,” she said. “My teammates know that, my coaches know that – I love assists because it’s not about the points that I put up on the board it’s about the team’s points. I think that assists are really a marker of making your teammates better. If I can get them the ball and give them an opportunity to score and help the team win, then I love it. It’s a big marker for me and it’s an accomplishment I’m very proud of. Being able to move up to that top 10 is really something.”
The accomplishment is just another in a long list of memories for Toussaint. Her favorite, however, still belongs to her rookie campaign with the Cavaliers.
“Yeah, I always say this – I have so many memories – and everybody who knows me knows I’m going to say this, but my buzzer beater against Louisville,” Toussaint recalled. “Although we didn’t win that game, I think that being able to come down the court, my teammates having confidence in me, and me actually knocking down that shot really solidified confidence in me and what I could do on the court. That memory really stands out to me. Even though we didn’t win that game, it was just really a confidence boost in myself that I could really play out here on this floor and give the crowd what they want to see.”
The moment was a confidence boost for a freshman who would become part of the core of Virginia women’s basketball for the next four seasons. Four years and a world of experience later, Toussaint reflected back on those early days.
“The number one thing I would tell myself is to embrace my talent and embrace this opportunity,” she said. “I think a lot of times throughout my four years here I’ve second guessed myself with adversity that we’ve seen. I think that me being able to understand the responsibility of the talent that I have is really important, especially to build a program.”
Rebuilding a program, laying a foundation for the future has always been a goal for this senior class. It’s something that has bonded the quartet throughout their time at UVA.
“It’s very interesting,” Toussaint said of the seniors’ relationship. “If it weren’t for this program, you wouldn’t necessarily think that we would become friends but we really are. I think that we came here with a common goal and we stuck through all the way through our four years. We all had opportunities where we could have left, we could have went to a different program, but because of our commitment to the program and because of our commitment to each other, we stayed here and we stuck through. So, I really appreciate them. I hope they appreciate me and I just can’t thank them enough for the memories that we’ve created.”
That is why, on Sunday afternoon, Toussaint has one thing on her mind.
“Honestly, just playing with my classmates,” she said. “It’s the last go around for the 2020 class, we came in here with a big agenda, big goal to try to make this program better. And it’s the last couple opportunities to do it on JPJ floor and I’m really going to miss these fans, I’m going to miss being on the court with my classmates and I’m going to miss everything about playing here at UVA.”
Toussaint plans to pursue her basketball career after graduation. However, her time on the court is not all the veteran will take away from Virginia.
“There’s so much, you know, we haven’t had a typical four years here,” she said. “And I think the biggest takeaway is: life isn’t typical. Your experience is not going to be the same as the person’s next to. I think being able to persevere through all the adversity, all those challenges, all our successes, is really something that I’m going to hold on to especially going into my postgraduate career.”
At the end of four years, Toussaint took a moment to recall all the teammates, coaches, support staff and fans who have crossed paths with her time on Grounds.
“Just thank you all around,” she said. “For four years we’ve encountered so many people just within the program itself because of all the changes. So, I just want to say thank you to for putting up with me, teaching me and helping me become the person I am today.”