Alexander inspires excellence

BY JON FRANK | NOVEMBER 17, 2010 7:20 AM

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With just over seven minutes left in the second half, Kachine Alexander saw an opening to slash to the basket. The All-Big Ten guard gunned for the hoop with a tenacity only she can bring to the court. As three Bradley players moved toward her, Alexander made a crafty last-second pass to a wide-open teammate for easy points in the paint.

Alexander's superior play during her tenure at Iowa has made her a feared and respected foe for all opponents. Any team that steps on the court against the Hawkeyes will have fits formulating a plan to contain her.

In Iowa's 91-53 trouncing of Bradley on Tuesday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Alexander made more points through free throws than she did with field goals. For the Braves, it seemed the only hope of stopping the Minneapolis native was to send her flying onto the hardwood. A futile effort. Despite her numerous trips to the floor, she converted five trips to the line into eight points.

And on defense, she always seemed to be near the ball, looming and striving to pilfer possession or force a miscue.

"I kind of have a knack for drawing fouls," said the 5-9 guard, her right leg wrapped to ease the soreness of an off-season surgery to repair a stress fracture. "We are a great shooting team as far as free throws. And that's what you want, to get their best players in foul trouble. So I always try to go at their bodies and things like that so I can get them in foul trouble. The best way to guard their best players is [put them] on the bench."

With three minutes left on the clock, head coach Lisa Bluder relieved Alexander of her duties on the court after a 14-point, 10 rebound performance — her first double-double of the season.

Even more impressive were the hustle plays that didn't pad point totals. Alexander totaled five assists, tied for a team-high with junior point guard Kamille Wahlin. She also managed three steals.

And despite her omnipresence on the court, she limited her turnovers to one.

The aggressive play from Alexander seemed to carry over to her teammates.

"We did a nice job of our player defense of deflecting," Bluder said. "It converted into points for us and high percentage points. We always talk about we want to push hard on the steal, and I thought we did a really good job of doing that tonight."

The Hawkeyes were able to push the ball at a fast pace and scored 35 points off of turnovers — something Alexander was a big contributor to.

"[Alexander's play] is definitely contagious," junior Megan Considine said. "When she gets an and-one, she's yelling and screaming, and it gets everyone else fired up."

Despite the high-energy performance by Alexander, there is still room for her to improve.

"I don't think I'm back to 100 percent," she said. "I still have pains in my leg and things like that … I think I can start to wean myself off the tape jobs that I have. I'm getting a lot better as far as that. Now, I'm going to be able to play with just a leg and not all that tape."

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