Doolittle brings inside presence to Hawkeyes

BY KYLE HUGHES | JULY 22, 2011 7:20 AM

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Iowa City doesn't have skyscrapers — but it now has a set of twin towers inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

This season, the Iowa women's basketball team will feature 6-5 junior Morgan Johnson and 6-4 freshman Bethany Doolittle at the center spot.

The addition of Doolittle provides depth at the center spot for the one of the first times in recent memory.

"I'm the only one who's had [center] experience that's [at Iowa]," Johnson said. "It's been a little bit of a weird situation, with me being the only post for the last two years."

Some players would take the addition of a player in the same position as a threat, but Johnson said she's happy to have Doolittle on the team.

"She's going to do a great job coming in for me and giving me a good break," Johnson said. "It's kind of my obligation to help her through [the learning process], show her what to do, and help her learn the system."

Doolittle said she's looking forward to building a business relationship with Johnson.

"I really just want to get a lot better, stronger, [and] faster — Morgan Johnson is helping me with that," Doolittle said. "She's really kind of a mentor, because she's an upperclassman and the only other center on the team."

The Oakdale, Minn., native averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds a game in the Game Time League this summer, and said she's had a lot of fun getting to know her Iowa teammates and playing against women from all over the state.

Her coach, Clark Anderson, said having Doolittle on his team — and watching her improve over the course of just a few games — has been a pleasure.

"She's really a hard worker in the post, [and] she has some great post moves," Anderson said. "She leads the team with her inside presence and [by] picking up the opposing posts [on defense]."

Iowa guard Kamille Wahlin said Doolittle will be able to transfer a lot of her Game Time attributes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the winter.

"She's going to contribute a lot to our team," Wahlin said. "She's a very smart basketball player … she'll develop into an excellent player for Iowa."

Doolittle is one of five freshmen who make up a highly touted recruiting class for the Hawkeyes. She said playing with and getting to know her freshman teammates has been fun.

Thinking about the potential of the incoming class excites Hawkeye fans, but the soft-spoken Doolittle said she is just enjoying having other freshmen around as she adjusts to college life. She said she's glad to have people around her that are going through the same things.

According to her teammates, the center's funny side has made her a great fit on the Hawkeyes.

"We all agree that she's one of the funniest quiet people we've ever met," Johnson said. "She's always laughing — she really has a light sense of humor."

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