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Commentary: Wahlin shines in loss

BY EVELYN LAU | DECEMBER 03, 2009 7:30 AM

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With time running out, the Iowa women’s basketball team trailed Boston College by one possession.

Looking to get the tying basket, it wasn’t surprising which Hawkeye player took the ball for the final shot.

Sophomore guard Kamille Wahlin launched a 3-point attempt a few feet away from the Hawkeyes’ bench with seven seconds left in the contest.

The ball fell short, hitting the rim before being snatched by Boston College’s Mickel Picco, who essentially sealed the Golden Eagles’ 70-67 victory Wednesday night.

Despite the disappointing loss, one thing was apparent: Wahlin’s play kept Iowa in the game.

The sophomore guard stepped up in the absence of the numerous injuries that has plagued the Hawkeyes so far this season. Having only seven players available against the Boston College, the Crookston, Minn., native played the entire game.

She leads Iowa in minutes played during four of the squad’s last five games and currently averages 36.4 minutes per game, ranking first in the Big Ten.

“I love it when she is leading our team,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “She is so mentally strong. I love her jump shot. She gets now the toughest defensive assignments, so she’s got a lot going on. But I just don’t think there’s anyone more qualified than Kamille.”

With three starters out with injuries, including leading scoring Kachine Alexander, it’s Wahlin who has taking the leadership position despite being a sophomore.

Last season, she impressed many and earned All-Big Ten freshman team honors. Whalin is also second on the team in scoring with 18.4 points per game, currently ranking third in the conference for players who have played at least 75 percent of their games.

Wahlin’s been hot from the field, going 9-for-16 against the Eagles and shooting 46.2 percent on the season. Even from beyond the arc, she’s been sharp with a 43.9 shooting percentage.

Her ability to elevate her performance has slightly helped soften the difficult blow dealt to the Hawkeyes lately with Alexander, senior center JoAnn Hamlin, and sophomore forward Hannah Draxten out.

Yet as freshman center Morgan Johnson simply put it, “No one ever said basketball was easy.”

Any team starting three freshmen and two sophomores wouldn’t usually be successful.

While Iowa has only gone 1-2 when Bluder uses her current lineup, the two losses have come by a combined six points.

Whalin’s competitiveness and desire has yet to waver despite the Hawkeyes being short handed for much of the start of this season.

Wahlin made a splash in the Big Ten her freshman year. Only a second-year player, she looks to get stronger as the season and her career goes forward.


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