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Wahlin an “incredible leader” for Hawkeyes

BY MATT COZZI | FEBRUARY 08, 2011 7:10 AM

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Sporting a plain, black Air Jordan jump suit, Kamille Wahlin stands in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena press room visibly distraught but relatively optimistic.

That was following Iowa’s 82-75 loss on Sunday to Penn State. The defeat puts the Hawkeyes four games out of first place in the Big Ten.

On a day on which Wahlin surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her Hawkeye career, the result of the game is what lingers most in her mind.

Still, the 5-8 junior guard flashes her signature smile, and while she struggles to put the personal milestone in words, she has no problem summing up what the Hawkeyes (17-7, 5-6 Big Ten) have to do in order to finish the Big Ten season on a good note.

While the Crookston, Minn., native, said the feeling on Sunday’s loss is “awful,” that mentality needs to change quickly if Iowa wants to improve upon its conference record. The Hawkeyes will return to the hardwood on Thursday at home against Minnesota.

“I just have to make sure, as a captain, I remain positive,” she said. “Keep feeding the girls’ confidence, keep letting them know that we’re a good Big Ten basketball team. We’ve seen a lot of positive things already this year, so I just have to make sure everyone stays focused.”

On the court, Wahlin has excelled running the offense for the Hawkeyes at point guard, earning accolades during her college journey so far.

Wahlin was named third-team All-Big Ten last season and was also named to the Big Ten Tournament All-Tournament team as a sophomore. The 21-year old has missed just one game during her stint as a Hawkeye, something that sticks out for head coach Lisa Bluder.

This season, Wahlin has performed just as well. She has started all 24 games, and she averages 12.4 points per game. She also boasts a team-high 83 assists.

“Kamille has earned everything she has achieved,” Bluder said. “She earns it through hard work. Here is a kid who’s [at practice] early shooting, after practice she’s shooting 3s, she goes hard in every single drill. She never gets hurt. She’s in every single play and gives her full effort.
“She’s an incredible leader by example.”

Sophomore center Morgan Johnson had a similar opinion.

“Kamille has definitely done a great job on the floor getting people set up and organized,” Johnson said at the team’s media day in October.

Although the physical qualities are what fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena have come to know, Wahlin possess a fine-tuned leadership style — both on the court and off it.

Bluder said that while it’s not uncommon to have a junior like Wahlin as a team captain, it’s further evidence on what kind of effect she has. Bluder said captains are voted on before the season by the coaches and players.

With just five regular season-games remaining, the Hawkeyes can’t get down on themselves, Wahlin said. As Iowa looks to build as much momentum as it can heading into the conference tournament, she will surely play a significant role.

She knows that.

“Everyone needs to stay positive within herself, and I have to make sure of it,” Wahlin said. “We need to make sure we don’t get down on ourselves or blame ourselves. It’s purely a team effort, and I need to let the team know that we’ll be fine.”


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