ANNAPOLIS -- For Perry Hall's Angie Dobbs, it was love at first sight.
She was only in second grade at the time, but on a class trip here, she was smitten. All she wanted from then on was to attend the Naval Academy.
"I was in awe," Dobbs said.
Never wavering in her resolve, she began collecting Navy paraphernalia, such as catalogs instructing candidates how to apply for admission. At home, she still has catalogs for every year from 1978 on.
Today Dobbs is a Navy senior, captain of the women's basketball team and No. 3 on the all-time list of scorers with 1,427 points going into tonight's game here against Lafayette and a chance to become No. 2. Ahead of her are Connie James (1,643 from 1986-90) and Colleen Cassidy (1,817 from 1978-82).
"Becoming No. 2 is not that important to her," said coach Debra Schlegel. "If she had to choose between winning the Patriot League championship and being No. 2 in scoring, it would be an easy choice."
"Win the Patriot League, of course," Dobbs said. "I don't want to be known as Angie the scorer but as Angie the basketball player."
Recruited out of Perry Hall High by Dave Smalley, then Navy's women's coach and now an assistant athletic director, Dobbs could have gone to Villanova on a basketball scholarship but spurned it for Navy.
"We knew she was a good player," Smalley said, "but she turned out better than we expected."
A four-year starter, Dobbs got her first start early in her plebe season when a regular was sick. By Christmas, she was starting fulltime after the team captain, Karen West, "felt more comfortable coming off the bench," according to Smalley.
"Her game kept maturing," Smalley said. "She has excellent hands, sees so many things on the court, passes well and is quick on defense. She works hard at her game and loves it. It shows."
Based purely on numbers, one of Dobbs' best games was against Yale when she sank nine three-pointers -- a season-high in Division I and one shy of the record. But Schlegel, like Smalley, doesn't see her as a one-dimensional player.
"To reach our potential, we need Angie as a catalyst at both ends of the floor," Schlegel said. "She can't rest. She's aggressive and has a nose for the ball. We use her on the press because she reads passing lanes well and anticipates."
As her college career winds down, Dobbs still believes that the path she chose back in second grade was the right one. Yes, women are under the microscope at the academy and, yes, it seems like they have to do a little extra simply to hold their own.
"This is the greatest education in the world," Dobbs said. "I've got friends who went to college who are loading boxes on a truck. I'll have a job."