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Women's basketball faces Bradley with a limited cast

BY JON FRANK | NOVEMBER 16, 2010 7:20 AM

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As the season kicks into full-throttle, Iowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder's lineup is still full of question marks going into today's home-opener against Bradley, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes' (2-0) preseason depth chart was light. Add sprains, twists, and tears to a roster that originally listed 12 members, and shortfalls appear.

Sophomore Theairra Taylor is out with an ACL and meniscus tear. Sophomore Trisha Nesbitt is dealing with a partially ruptured plantar fascia. And junior forward Kalli Hansen will not dress because of back pain.

Besides those absences, Iowa has some minor injuries. The contributions of sophomore Hannah Draxten and freshman Jade Rogers will be limited.

"[Rogers] will be able to suit up and possibly give us some minutes," Bluder said. "[Draxten] will suit up. I'm not quite as optimistic about [Draxten] giving us minutes, but she may."

The current roster of healthy players on the Hawkeyes' squad is down to seven: Sophomores Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson, juniors Kelly Krei, Kamille Wahlin, and Megan Considine and seniors Kelsey Cermak and Kachine Alexander.

Bluder has dealt with limited depth before. Last season, senior All-Big Ten guard Alexander suffered a stress fracture, and other players — including Draxten — spent time on the bench nursing injuries throughout the season. There were periods in the season when the Hawkeyes only suited up eight players.

"I've probably become an expert at something I don't want to be an expert at, and that's how to deal with injuries," Bluder said on Nov. 4 during a press conference.

The injuries were so numerous and devastating to the team's depth that Bluder brought walk-on Considine to the team to help offset the roster shortfalls. Bluder said she would be open to bringing another walk-on to expand the shrunken roster.

Now acclimated to the Iowa playbook, Considine will play a larger role this season as downed teammates look to recuperate from their early season pains.

"I've taken it upon myself to try to step up and play and fill their spots when called upon," the Byron, Ill., native said. "It's really hard to see [my teammates] go through [the injuries], but they're behind me, and they have my support."

Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, the injuries have yet to affect any of the five starters.

With Bluder's starting lineup still intact and healthy, the first string has received considerable playing time — more minutes than they would normally spend on the floor. Despite the extra time on the court, fatigue hasn't set in yet.

"Once we're in the game, we're not really thinking about how many minutes we're playing, or how tired we are. So hopefully, we'll be able to just go off adrenaline," Wahlin said. "It's the beginning of the year, and we're all just excited to get going … Our focus is to get some people back and get them healthy so we don't have to deal with it the rest of the season."


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