Walk-on women's hoopster making an impact

BY JON FRANK | DECEMBER 01, 2010 7:20 AM

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Going into the season, head coach Lisa Bluder faced one absolute certainty: She would be shorthanded at the guard position.

Sophomores Theairra Taylor and Trisha Nesbitt fell to injury in the preseason. Taylor sustained an ACL tear in her right knee and is expected to miss the entire season. The timetable for Nesbitt's return from a partially ruptured plantar fascia has yet to be set.

Only four guards remain. The starters — senior Kachine Alexander, junior Kamille Wahlin, and sophomore Jaime Printy — have proven themselves on the court. But junior walk-on Megan Considine has big shoes to fill coming off the bench.

Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, she has responded with solid production.

"[Considine] is a different [player] from last year, when she first came in," Alexander said. "This year, she's a lot more confident than she was last year. She's a big help, especially with the injuries."

Although her offensive production has been limited — she averages 2 points a game — her explosive energy off the bench provides her teammates with a spark. A self-described "hustle player," the Byron, Ill., native has accounted for five steals and six assists through seven games of play.

"Right now, [Considine] mostly brings us defense," Bluder said. "Not that she can't score for us. But definitely the defensive end is where she is really helping us."

Although she is a junior, Considine did not join the Iowa squad until midway through last season. Shorthanded because of injuries, Bluder enlisted Considine for depth.

Initially limited in her playing time, she spent the majority of the 2009-10 season on the bench.

After learning the system and sharpening her skills, the 5-8 guard stepped up and asserted herself as a reliable weapon off the bench.

"[My skills] have developed a lot," she said. "I played high-school basketball and thought I was going to play in college and kind of made a decision to not. My skillsdidn't need to develop a ton, but I needed to remove a lot of rust, so that's what I did last year."

During the off-season, she stayed in Iowa City and continued to work on improving. A stint in the Game Time summer league gave the junior solid playing time. And hours of practice dedicated to quickening her shot and improving her ball handling and footwork helped prepare her for the 2010-11 campaign.

On a roster that lists 12 players — two of whom are injured and one a freshman — Bluder and her squad will likely continue to look to Considine for support, a role she's more than willing to accept.

"It feels really good [to get more minutes]," she said. "I think I learned a lot by just [watching] last year. But being able to be on the floor with the girls and finally get some clock, it feels good."

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