Bluder’s Bunch faces Indiana tonight


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The “next man in” philosophy seems to be infectious around campus — especially for the Iowa women’s basketball team.

The most recent injury to “Bluder’s Bunch” hit starting point guard Kamille Wahlin. The Crookston, Minn., native suffered a concussion in Iowa’s 77-66 victory over Michigan State on Sunday.

In a release Wednesday night, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said Wahlin will not be available for Iowa’s (12-11, 5-7) 6 p.m. game today at Indiana (13-10, 6-6). The next woman in for Iowa is freshman Trisha Nesbitt.

On Tuesday Bluder said Whalin was still suffering from concussion-like symptoms and would need to be symptom-free for 24 hours before she could have her playing status evaluated.

“This is obviously a big blow to our team,” the coach said in the statement. “Kamille has been playing well all year, and we hate to lose her for this game.”

Hailing from Ames, Nesbitt has seen time off the bench in all 23 of Iowa’s contests this season. The 5-6 guard has averaged 15.8 minutes a game.

Nesbitt’s numbers pale in comparison with Wahlin’s 23 starts, 14.0 points, and 3.0 assists per game, but her teammates and Bluder are both confident she is ready to take over the lead-guard duties.
In fact, this week marks the second time this season where Iowa has looked to Nesbitt to fill in for her older counterpart.

Bluder expected Nesbitt to start in place of Wahlin at Illinois on Jan. 21, because the sophomore was suffering from back spasms. Instead, Wahlin started and played through the injury. Nesbitt played 18 minutes in the 74-65 Iowa win and was a perfect 2-for-2 from the floor.

Nesbitt also saw increased minutes — 21 — when Wahlin took an early exit from Sunday’s game after suffering her concussion. Her 3-of-4 shooting from the free-throw line helped seal the Hawkeyes’ victory.

Those two games were not the only instances in which a freshman was called upon to fill in for a more experienced teammate this season. It was only the most recent.

Two freshmen — guard Jamie Printy and center Morgan Johnson — were immediately thrust into Bluder’s starting lineup for Iowa’s season-opener on Nov. 14, 2009. The pair took over for sophomore Hannah Draxten (herniated disc) and senior JoAnn Hamlin (blood clot), and neither have looked back since.

Printy and Johnson have started all 23 games this season.

Printy said dealing with injuries has become “kind of like second nature” this season.

“Obviously, it’s frustrating, especially because it is Kamille, and she’s one of our key players,” Printy said. “We’ll get through it. We’ve battled this whole way, so whatever happens, we’ll be fine.”

The numerous injuries have the Hawkeyes better prepared to face adversity, she said.

“Especially because we’re so young, I think it’s made us grow up a lot faster,” she said. “I just think it will help us so much in the future as well.”

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