When Alexis Dobbs recorded her 1,000th-career point during a Dec. 16 loss to Mount St. Mary's, she joined an exclusive group of American University women's basketball players.
"It's something that you think about when you're younger," said Dobbs, who tallied a career-high 25 points and nailed a 3-pointer to become the 16th American player to reach the scoring milestone. "And when you get it, it's kind of surreal. It's a great accomplishment, and I'm proud of it, but I'm much more focused on winning the Patriot League championship."
A senior who has started since her freshman year, Dobbs will play a huge role in American's quest for its first-ever league tournament title and automatic NCAA tournament berth. The Eagles have been the Patriot League's regular-season champion four of the last six seasons, and wound up in the WNIT each of those years because they couldn't win the league tournament.
The 5-foot-5 Dobbs, an All-Patriot League second-team selection last season, has become a dominant player. During American's 6-3 start, Dobbs has averaged a team-leading 16.0 points and 5.4 assists from her point guard spot. She has assisted on 49 baskets, while committing 19 turnovers. Dobbs is the team's most accurate shooter, hitting 52 percent from the field and 93 percent from the foul line. She has made 47 percent of her 3-point attempts.
"She's a very good decision-maker," said Megan Gebbia, the Eagles' first-year head coach. "Alexis is very multi-dimensional, someone who can score, assist and play good defense. I've never coached a point guard who could score like her. Her percentages are outstanding, and she's not shooting layups. She's similar to several kids that were Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Players of the Year, and I'd like to see Alexis get that same consideration from the Patriot League."
Dobbs' on-court production has been essential to the Eagles' strong start. But her leadership skills have been equally important for a team that didn't have a head coach until mid-August, when Gebbia was hired from MAAC power Marist to succeed current Texas Tech assistant Matt Corkery.
"I like to be one of the leaders," said Dobbs, who has been a team captain since her sophomore year. "I just try to be the best teammate I can be, and point our team in the right direction. I led more by example in my sophomore year, but over time have become more of a vocal leader and a better communicator."
While Gebbia adjusted to her first head coaching position and installed new offensive and defensive systems, Dobbs helped keep the team focused and ready for the challenges of the upcoming season.
"Her teammates know that Alexis is a gamer," Gebbia said. "It's nice to have a leader who wants to have the ball. She has a ton of confidence in herself."
A native of Berea, Ohio, Dobbs has been one of the Patriot League's top players for the last two seasons, but her accomplishments aren't limited to the court. She is also an academic standout who earned the conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year award in 2012 and 2013. Dobbs, who is majoring in public health with a minor in biology, is also taking pre-med classes at American. She said she wanted to become a physician's assistant after her May 2014 graduation.
"You have to figure out what you want to do, and when you want to do it," Dobbs said. "American is a great academic school, and it takes a lot of effort. My priorities have always been school, basketball, and family."
It helped that Dobbs was raised in an athletic family. Her father, Frank, is the current associate head men's basketball coach at Bryant University and was a four-year starting guard at Villanova during the early 1980s. Dobbs' mother, Karen, was a member of the track and field team at Florida State. Two of Dobbs' uncles played college basketball at Duquesne and Robert Morris, and her brother, Frankie, recently finished his hoops career at Bryant.
"Growing up, I always had a basketball in my hands," Dobbs said. "My family has shaped my life in general. I've had very supportive parents who I've learned from every day. My brother has always had a big influence on me."