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Notebook: Bluder addresses media

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | NOVEMBER 13, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s basketball team will open the regular season Friday against USC Upstate in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In preparation, head coach Lisa Bluder and her team met with members of the media Wednesday.

Though they return four of five starters, there has still been a great deal of speculation about how the Hawks will use their dynamic freshmen.

Whitney Jennings, Chase Coley, Carly Mohns, and Christina Buttenham all saw significant floor time in Iowa’s rout of the Fighting Bees, leaving Bluder to further speculate on how she will use the freshmen come Friday night alongside their senior counterparts.

“I definitely think our players, for them it’s easier to grasp things with so many seniors on our basketball team,” Bluder said.  “They can pick up things quicker, and they understand the terminology.”

Iowa’s seniors — Sam Logic, Melissa Dixon, Beth Doolittle, and Kathryn Reynolds — have noticed the first-year players as well.

“They all played well and brought different things to the table,” Dixon said. “We’re expecting them to contribute a lot this year.”

Bluder opened her Wednesday session talking about the signings of four highly-ranked women’s basketball prep standouts set to join the Hawks next season.

Tania Davis leads the way, ranked No. 37 nationally and No. 1 in her class in Michigan. Megan Gustafson is ranked No. 92 nationally, while Tagyn Larson and Hannah Stewart aren’t ranked in the top 100. The quartet signed letters of intent to join the Black and Gold. Bluder was thrilled with their decisions.

“We are very thrilled with the four women that we signed. Right now, it’s ranked 18th best in the country, and we feel like we signed one person at every position we needed that we had,” Bluder said.

All four players who signed fill specific roles the Hawkeyes will need later on down the road. 

With Stewart, Larson, and Gustafson all 6-2 or taller, the Hawkeyes certainly have no shortage of size coming down the pipeline.

While St. Ambrose was certainly a valuable teaching tool for the Hawkeyes, there is no denying the anticipation gets greater when the games start to count.

For Jennings, as long as she can fit into her team’s game plan, that’s all she’ll be concerned with.

“It’s about what we can accomplish as a team, so we’re just trying to focus on that going forward,” Jennings said.

Jennings’ talent will no doubt get her into the game Friday, even if she’s not yet sure when.

“Coach talked about it with us today. She doesn’t know for sure what the lineup will look like; it’s not going to be be set,” Jennings said.  “She’s going to try some different things and move things around until she gets a good feel for us.”


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