Disterhoft’s leadership, humility shine in Game Time


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Just about to enter her sophomore year, Iowa women’s basketball guard Ally Disterhoft is on the verge of becoming one of the Big Ten’s best players.

Coming off a freshman season in which her role increased steadily throughout the season, she was far-and-away the best player in the Game Time League this summer.

“I just tried to be aggressive every game,” Disterhoft said. “I always play hard, and try to set an example for the rest of the team.”

Disterhoft lit up the stat sheets in Game Time, leading Brendan Unkrich’s team to a championship season.

Disterhoft led the league in scoring, averaging 40 points per game for Unkrich and Company. Week after week, opposing defenses had no answers for her polished offensive game.

She also averaged better than 10 boards for the team, which defeated Randy Larson’s team, 81-56, for the league title.

But every championship team needs a leader, and more than anything, that was Disterhoft’s role for Unkrich’s squad.

“She shows great leadership both physically and verbally,” Unkrich said. “And that’s so important in a good leader.”

No team came even came close to beating Unkrich this season; the team won every game by double digits.

Disterhoft was named the league’s MVP at halftime, and she was the obvious choice for the award since the first week of competition.

“It’s tough to play against her and really fun to play with her,” teammate Courtney Strait of Truman State said. “She’s going to get you the ball if you’re open; I hope we get to play together next season, too.”

Disterhoft may have been the league’s top scorer, but she was always willing to share the ball with her teammates. Her team was loaded with offensive talent, but it all started with the Iowa City native.

Her impressive summer comes on the heels of a big finish to her freshman season in which she started the team’s final 17 games.

Disterhoft scored in double-digits in all but one of those starts. She was also named to the Big Ten’s All-Freshman team, as well as awarded an honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.

The impressive end to the 2013-14 season for Iowa women’s basketball carried over into Game Time, and Disterhoft reminded Hawkeye fans why they should be exited for next season — and the next few seasons for that matter.

Of course, Game Time performance has to be taken with a grain of salt, considering Division I basketball brings new challenges, but it’s clear this season was a special one for the sophomore.

“Brendan [Unkrich] put together a great team,” Disterhoft said. “They made it easy; I had confidence that if my shot wasn’t open, they could hit 3s or create other opportunities.”

Humility appears to be just as abundant in Disterhoft as talent, making her potential as a leader boundless in the coming years for the Hawkeyes.

For Unkrich, that potential leadership boils down to who Disterhoft is as a person.

“I only have a little boy,” Unkrich said. “But if I ever have a girl, I want her to be like Ally — both on and off the court.”

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