Position change energizes Iowa’s Doolittle

BY BEN ROSS | NOVEMBER 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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A year after switching positions, Bethany Doolittle has found steady success in her newfound spot at power forward. The sophomore set a personal scoring record with 17 points in a 79-70 win over then-No. 12 West Virginia on Sunday.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said she had been waiting to see that kind of production from Doolittle — who hit 7-of-12 shots and also grabbed 6 rebounds —during a game situation, because her ability had been on display during practices.

“We felt like she’s had that potential all year long,” Bluder said. “We finally got to see it against West Virginia. We’ve seen in it practice; she’s a big target and has a nice corner jump shot. She’s had some other good games in her career.”

Iowa will take on an undefeated Florida State team today in Tallahassee, Fla. The Seminoles are coming off a win against No. 17 Vanderbilt. And the Hawkeyes may need Doolittle’s 6-4 frame in the paint rather than shooting from the perimeter.

Florida State is seventh in the country in defensive rebound margin, having a surplus of nearly 15 rebounds per game. Iowa has struggled on the boards, averaging just 10 offensive rebounds over its past six contests.

“Everyone on our team is working on [offensive rebounds],” Doolittle said. “It has been a weakness, and Florida State is strong in that department.”

Senior guard Jaime Printy said when a player has a big game like the one Doolittle had against West Virginia, it helps the team’s offense as a whole by adding another element that opposing teams have to prepare for.

“She definitely had a huge game against West Virginia,” Printy said. “Other teams know they have to stop her now. It adds to her as an offensive threat.”

Doolittle changed to power forward this season after spending time at center during her freshman year. With already an effective center on the roster in senior Morgan Johnson, Doolittle made the switch, hoping it would help her team on the court. Rather than playing behind Johnson, Doolittle has spent time alongside her in the frontcourt, giving the Hawkeyes a size advantage.

So far, the switch has paid off. Doolittle said she’s having fun learning a new position, and that a performance like the one she had against West Virginia is something that she’ll hope to duplicate in future contests.

“I’m having fun, more success, and more opportunities,” Doolittle said. “It’s been really fun to learn a new position; learning how to do new things has been fun.

“I think the West Virginia game was a really good experience. Teammates have encouraged me and helped me out to have similar performances in the future.”

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