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Bluder has much-needed depth

BY MATT COZZI | OCTOBER 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's basketball team played with a depleted bench at times last season.

The Hawkeyes won't this year.

Iowa will return four starters and three other letter-winning players to go along with the 11th-best recruiting class in the nation.

So even though the team lost Megan Considine and Jade Rogers for the season in fall practice, depth shouldn't be an issue this season for the Hawkeyes — a program that has rattled off four-straight 20-win campaigns.

"We have 12 healthy players right now, and I don't remember the last time we've been able to say that," head coach Lisa Bluder said at the team's media day on Monday.

 

"We've always tried to be up-tempo, but I think when you have 12 players that are just chomping at the bit to get on the court, you can really rotate some people in to keep your transition game going, as well."

Senior Kamille Wahlin expressed her excitement to have a full rotation of players this season.

The point guard, who averaged 12 points and just under four assists per game in 2010-11, said the Hawkeyes' depth will make a difference throughout the season.

"We have a lot of players who are going to contribute," she said. "We're able to throw in some different looks as far as [pressing other teams], which is something we haven't been able to do. I'm excited."

The most Logic(al) arrival

Bluder said freshman Samantha Logic would likely join the four returning starters on the floor if a lineup was needed immediately; Iowa will play an exhibition contest on Nov. 6 and open its regular season against Harvard on Nov. 12 as part of the Hawkeye Challenge.

Logic is a heralded recruit, having been named a McDonald's All-American and Miss Wisconsin Basketball. Though she played point guard in high school, Logic will likely assume the starting position vacated by graduated small forward Kachine Alexander.

"We're still kind of playing with [Logic's role]," Bluder said. "With Kamille, we quite honestly don't need [Logic] at point guard, so we've got to find a place to have her on the floor."

Logic hit the game winning-shot in the Hawkeyes' win over BC Strakonice in the Czech Republic during Iowa's trip to Europe in August, so it seems she's ready to step into a starting role from the opening tip.

"If you don't have that confidence, people are going to eat you alive," Logic said. "Wherever they put me, I'll try to do what the coaches tell me to do."

Nesbitt and Taylor ready to go

Guards Trisha Nesbitt and Theairra Taylor said they're happy they aren't feeling something they've felt for several months: pain.

Taylor suffered three torn ACLs within the past two years, and Nesbitt missed the first 15 games of the 2010-11 season with a foot injury that didn't fully recover until this past spring.

Taylor's injuries have been difficult to overcome, and she'll will wear a brace on her left leg and be limited to 10-15 minutes a game to begin the year. Nesbitt is expected to play point guard behind Wahlin.

"A lot of it is mental," Taylor said. "I'm focusing on that right now, and hopefully [the fear of further injury] will go away as the season progresses."

The redshirt sophomore showed flashes of promise as a true freshman, earning eight starts in 10 appearances before her first ACL tear.

"It means a lot to be playing right now," she said. "I never take any of the practices for granted. This means a lot to me, so you hope for the best. That's all I can do."


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