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Wahlin rises as leader for Hawkeyes

BY BEN WOLFSON | OCTOBER 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's basketball team is coming off its fourth-straight season with 20 or more victories — and despite graduating one of the best players in school history in Kachine Alexander, the Hawkeyes are confident about who will lead them this season.

That responsibility falls to senior point guard Kamille Wahlin.

The Crookston, Minn., native has been a floor general ever since she stepped foot on the court for Iowa.

She recorded 14 points and 10 assists in her first-ever start, against Michigan on Jan. 26, 2009. The 10 dimes were the most ever recorded by a Hawkeye freshman in her first career start.

The 5-8 guard emerged last season after starting all 31 games and playing more than 33 minutes per night. Wahlin averaged 12 points per game as the team's third-leading scorer and led Iowa with 117 assists.

"You can tell we have a lot of confidence in this group of women," 12th-year coach Lisa Bluder said at the team's media day on Monday. "When I go to practice every day, I go to practice with Kamille Wahlin, who I think is the most experienced point guard in the Big Ten. There's nobody I'd rather have leading our team than Kamille Wahlin."

Alexander led Iowa to a 22-9 record last year, and Bluder acknowledged the team lost a good leader when she graduated in May. But she said she's happy with the makeup of her team.

"I think the thing we miss Kachine most is the fire she brings, the enthusiasm she brings," Bluder said. "[Guard] Megan Considine was really trying to fulfill that role for us — and she was voted captain by our team as a senior — but unfortunately with her torn Achilles [injured in the preseason], she's on the sidelines.

"It's a lot tougher to be that role when you're on the sidelines. You can still contribute, but it's a lot harder to do."

Bluder said she thinks the leadership will be done by committee — and while Wahlin's named cropped up a lot when talking to the team, it was also apparent the point guard won't be asked to shoulder the burden alone.

"[Alexander] was the loud-mouth, and we know that she was a great leader on the court. We miss her a lot," junior Jaime Printy said. "I'm trying to be more vocal this year; Kamille is a great leader and point guard, but she'll definitely need some more help, so I'll try to do that this year."

The Hawkeyes will return four starters and will introduce the No. 11 freshman class in the country, according to ESPN HoopGurlz. Leading the five freshmen is guard Samantha Logic, who ranked as the No. 10 player in the class of 2011.

When asked about whom she looks to as a leader on the team, the native of Racine, Wis., said, "Definitely Kamille."

Logic said Wahlin was a huge help integrating the freshmen to Iowa basketball during the summer, and her patience with the first-year players was invaluable.

"I know it's hard — after knowing this stuff for three years — to try to teach it to someone else," Logic said. "[But] she's definitely taken that role [of team leader]."

Wahlin said she's comfortable helping the freshmen and wants to get them adjusted for the start of their season, because they'll be vital if the Hawkeyes hope to make a push for the NCAA championship.

"I've been hoping to talk a lot [this year] and give instructions to help the freshmen adjust," Wahlin said. "On the court, I'm able to show them how things are run. I won't replace Kach's emotions — she's one-of-a-kind — but I can be the go-to leader as the senior point guard.

"I expect to be that leader, on and off the court."


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