Alexander brings more than points and rebounds to Bluder’s Bunch


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Kachine Alexander’s gaudy statistics can be listed for hours.

And those accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed this season. On Monday she became the 18th Hawkeye ever to be named to the first-team All-Big Ten.

But her 16 double-doubles, as impressive as they are, aren’t Alexander’s greatest asset to the Iowa women’s basketball team.

Just ask any of her coaches or teammates. The junior guard’s greatest value is her unparalleled leadership.

Whether it’s her intensity, her fist pumps, or her big smile, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said, players can’t help but be excited to be on the floor with her.

She isn’t the only one. Freshman Jaime Printy said she loves the energy Alexander brings to the team.

“If she’s down, then most likely a lot of the team’s down,” Printy said. “She just rubs off on people. It’s such a good thing too, because almost 99.9 percent of the time it’s positive energy that she brings.”

Sophomore Kamille Wahlin feels the same way. The starting point guard said she knows whenever Alexander steps on the court, she’s going to bring it.

“When you see her get emotional, it just gets everyone on the same page,” Wahlin said. “It gets everyone going. It gets everyone ready and pumped up.”

Bluder emphasized Alexander’s importance on Tuesday, referring to the seven games Alexander missed from Nov. 22 to Dec. 10 with a stress fracture in her leg.

“We missed it when she was gone those seven games,” Bluder said. “Not only for her points and her rebounds and her defense, but she is also the heart and soul of our team as far as the emotion.”

The greatest example of Alexander’s leadership may be the work she’s put in to diversify her skills.
Although Alexander provided plenty of excitement on the offensive end prior to this season, her defense had always been ahead of the rest of her game. Her formidable defense didn’t waver this season, either.

The Minneapolis native joined Crystal Smith (2006) on Monday as only the second Hawkeye in history to earn a spot on the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team.

But this year, her other skills have caught up.

Alexander is averaging 15.6 points per game. She is no longer one-dimensional on offense.

Bluder previously gave her parameters on shot selection — and for good reason — she shot just 16.7 percent on 3-pointers last season.

Now, in addition to scoring via attacking the rim or knocking down free throws, she has added a consistent jump shot to her arsenal. Alexander is shooting at a vastly-improved 31 percent clip on her long-range shots this season.

And in addition to her dynamic offense, she has been straight-“Kach” on the glass this season for the Hawkeyes.

Bluder knew her latest team would lack size. However, the 10th year coach made it clear before the start of the season: Alexander had to be a rebounding force.

She hasn’t disappointed her coach.

Despite standing only 5-9, she is collecting 11.3 rebounds per game, making her the best rebounding guard in the country.

“That’s the thing you enjoy about coaching somebody like Kachine,” Bluder said. “You give her a goal, and it’s like, ‘All right.’ She’s just going to take it on, and she doesn’t care what that goal is. I love that attitude about her. She’s such a competitor.”

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