Game Time teams slowly find identities

BY JACOB SHEYKO | JULY 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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There were myriad approaches that the Game Time League coaches took when drafting their teams. These identities are slowly taking shape as the summer league begins its third set of games tonight at the North Liberty Community Center.

Theairra Taylor’s team has shown instances of being the most complete in the league with a formidable inside and outside game. The team revolves around the trio of Taylor, Kayla Timmerman, and Kiah Stokes in nearly every aspect of its game.

Taylor will lead her squad into a matchup against fellow Hawkeye Bethany Doolittle and her team at 6 p.m. today. The early advantage might lean toward both Timmerman and Stokes — both of whom are forces in the paint. They will provide a stifling challenge for Doolittle.

Stokes was dominant in her first game with Taylor’s team. The UConn sophomore finished with 17 points and altered shots all night. But her 15 rebounds are what caught the eye of Taylor.

“She’s just a rebound machine,” Taylor said. “Anything that she misses, it’s going back up.”

Doolittle has been no slouch either for her team. Offensively, Doolittle’s team tries take advantage of its size, often slowing the game down and running half-court sets focused on getting the ball to the post.

Doolittle’s team pressures the ball on the defensive end, knowing the 6-4 junior will back them up. The Oakdale, Minn., native said preventing points in the paint is just a part of her job.

“That’s what the post is supposed to be: the last line of defense,” Doolittle said. “I’m just there to help out my teammates anyway I can.”

Claire Till, following her game against Doolittle last week, said that finding Doolittle in the paint was no surprise.

“That’s what she’s been programmed to do her entire life,” Till said. “She’ll be help, clogging up that lane.”

Melissa Dixon’s and Till’s team was the only one to secure two victories in their first two contests. Dixon’s team lacks size, leaving Till — who stands 6 even — as its tallest player.

The lack of size forces Dixon’s team to use its speed and run the floor. The fast-paced style has had success early in the season due in large part to Dixon’s ability to score. While she is known as a shooter, she has used this time to showcase her improved ball handling.

“I’m just looking to develop my overall game,” she said. “I’m known for shooting, but I’m trying to get better at that aspect.”

Dixon’s team will take on Sam Logic’s team in today’s 7:30 p.m. game. The intriguing part of this game stems from the Dixon-Logic matchup — both teams’ offenses run through the guards.

Logic’s team revolves around her ability to create for herself and her teammates. The junior guard controls the offense, penetrates the paint, and either finds an open teammate or puts the ball in the hole herself.

But that doesn’t faze Dixon’s team, which likely won’t change a thing tonight in North Liberty.

“[We’re going to] keep doing the things that we have been doing, because they’ve been working,” said Till. “Pushing the ball and running — getting up and down.”

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