Adjustment the name of the game for incoming Hawkeyes

BY ERIN ERICKSON | JULY 22, 2014 5:00 AM

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High-school athletes commit a lot of time and energy refining their skills and technique before they transition to college, where they will be awakened by an entirely new level of challenge and competition. In addition to being under much more pressure to perform on a bigger stage in front of a national audience, they must also deal with the challenges that regular college freshmen face.

The transition to the college starts a little sooner for the incoming freshmen on the Iowa women’s basketball team. The team members are required to stay in Iowa City for the summer, with a two-hour team practice once a week, conditioning four days a week, and school courses to fill in the remaining amount of time.

On top of meeting all of the team requirements for Iowa, three of the four future Hawkeyes have spent their Wednesday nights participating in the Game Time League with their teammates. 

Chase Coley, Whitney Jennings, and Carly Mohns are quickly earning to acclimate to the increased speed and competition at the college level.

“Playing with Ally [Disterhoft] has definitely helped my game,” Coley said. “Ally is a great player, and she is fun to play with.”

While the league ranges from the high-school level to the college level, each team averages two Hawkeye hoopsters per squad. Coley has been playing with sophomore guard Disterhoft, who scored 42 points in the July 16 game. Combining Coley’s 12 points with Disterhoft’s 42, the pair produced 54 of the team’s 83 points. 

“The league has benefited Chase tremendously, just giving her the chance to get out here and play at a higher level compared with high school,” Disterhoft said. “For me and her to be able to play together, it’s been fun to learn her tendencies, figure them out, and ultimately start gelling together on the court.”

The level of conditioning and intensity for athletes at Iowa is far beyond that of high school because of the increased speed and competition. Speed is not something that Jennings lacks. The smallest player on the team, she compensates for her height with her quickness on the court and her ball-handling skill. Jennings has suited up with Iowa forward Kali Peschel .

“It’s been an adjustment moving six hours away from home, but the team has made me feel really welcome. We’ve been having really good workouts and really good practices,” Jennings said. “We have really good team chemistry, so I am excited for the upcoming year and for my next four years.”

Mohns is excited to join the Hawkeyes and get going.

“Pretty good transition so far; the girls are really good at getting you comfortable and keeping you interested; it’s been fun this summer,” she said.

Mohns has shown her versatility in all of her Game Time outings. Mohns is playing with senior veteran guard Melissa Dixon, who is excited to see what her future teammate can bring to the Hawkeyes.

“Carly is a tough player; she rebounds really well, she scores really well — we will have a lot more depth this year on the court,” Dixon said.

Mohns’ 17 rebounds helped the senior guard drain 19 points on July 16.

It’s a tough, multifaceted adjustment, but among the many different elements many players feel that the intense workload of college athletics is one of the most difficult aspects to adapt to. With a less-demanding practice schedule this summer, the Hawkeyes are taking full advantage of their extra time with the team, allowing them to instill the importance of team unity and family two key factors that play significant roles.

“It’s helped a lot, getting to know how [Dixon] plays, and her getting to know how I play,” Mohns said. “When the season comes, we have a good connection during the game.”

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