Hawkeye women’s basketball boasts several Minnesotans

BY BEN ROSS | DECEMBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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Several members of Iowa’s women’s basketball team say they have found a second home, and even second family, in Iowa City after traveling here from their home state of Minnesota.

Iowa is just a place close to home,” junior small forward and St. Paul native Theairra Taylor said. “It’s not too close, still get that homey feel, it’s a nice environment here. I came here because the coaches treat us like family.”

The majority of Iowa’s current players aren’t from the state of Iowa. They aren’t from Wisconsin, or Missouri, hotbeds of basketball talent. Most players don’t come from some of Chicago’s suburbs.

The state that almost a third of the 13 players on the roster call home is Minnesota.

Four players  come from up north, and it’s not a trend exclusive to just the Hawkeyes in women’s basketball. Northern Iowa’s team has four players from Minnesota, and Drake has two as well, making the state one of the more popular recruiting pipelines for Iowa basketball.

Northern Iowa head coach Tanya Warren said she and other coaches in Iowa have developed an eye for Minnesota talent and that Iowa has a lot to offer for Minnesota recruits.

I think you have to give Iowa and us a little credit in terms of knowing and understanding that there is very good talent in the state of Minnesota,” Warren said. “It’s an opportunity to get out of state and play Division-I. And play with two very good programs and put yourself in position where you’re competing in postseason play year after year.”

Starting Iowa power forward Bethany Doolittle, a native of Oakdale, Minn., agreed with teammate Taylor. She said Hawkeye coaches make Iowa an easy place to transition to from home.

“I think it was the people here,” Doolittle said. “The family atmosphere that the coaches and players create here, it’s kind of a unique place.”

In addition to Taylor and Doolittle, freshmen Kali Peschel and Kayla Timmerman call Minnesota home.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder gave perhaps the best explanation for why Iowa is such an appealing destination for Minnesota players. She said it’s easier to access Division-I ball in Iowa than it is in Minnesota.

“There's only one Division-I school in the state of Minnesota, and there are four Division-I schools in the state of Iowa,” Bluder said. “So there’s less competition for the kids up there, and it’s a bigger-populated state.  We can sell them on coming south, going to the warm climate.”

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