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Incoming Hawkeye shines in Game Time premier

BY RAPHAEL GELFAND | JUNE 18, 2015 5:00 AM

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She might not be the tallest player on the court, but Tania Davis may be the fastest. And even though the incoming freshman from Michigan may have been her team’s leading scorer with 26 points, she isn’t always the first to take a shot.

The guard, a true playmaker on the floor, was a step ahead of the opposition on Wednesday night as Kay DiLeo’s squad defeated Brian Joens’ team 102-78.  Davis tied for the game’s highest number of assists at 6, but when she did decide to shoot, she proved to be deadly, going 11-for-17.

“It’s just really fun playing with all these incredible athletes,” Davis said.

For DiLeo’s squad, the offense was maintained by strong perimeter scoring from Davis (4-of-7 from the 3 zone) and Olivia Montague, and a down-low presence from Megan Gustafson, leaving the Joens defense at times helpless.

The play under the rim was the battle all night. Two Hawkeyes, Nicole Smith for Joens and Gustafson for DiLeo, fought it out for rebounds, blocks, and scoring all evening.

Joens’ team wasn’t without its own scoring force. Ashley Joens and Alexa Kastenek combined for a total of 37 points, but coming into the fourth quarter down 30, every basket they drained was matched by DiLeo’s group. In the end, her team’s quick offense, intuitive passing, and power under the boards that gave it the victory.

“I thought all of them played really well,” DiLeo said.  “I think in particular Megan Gustafson, her effort and what she can do inside really helped us in the end.”

In other opening-night action, player-coach Bethany Doolittle and Randy Larson’s team squared off. In the end, Larson’s team emerged victorious 126-78, with the star of the show, Whitney Jennings, an assist and a rebound short of a triple-double.

In the final game of the night, the theme was all about defense, as Joe Johnston’s team beat Brendan Unkrich’s, 57-51. Johnston’s group played on the back end especially tight, but during the first half came up short on offense.

Chase Coley was the defensive star of the game, but she and her team had trouble finishing on the other side of the court due to the equally effective defending of Unkrich’s squad. Luckily for Johnston, Unkrich’s play was riddled with turnovers.

The game was as close as it could get going into the third, but the aggressive strength of Hawkeye teammates Carly Mohns and Coley started to overpower the fast-paced offense of Unkrich’s team.

Incoming freshman Hannah Stewart answered the call, playing effective offense in the post and bringing Unkrich within 3 points of Johnston with fewer than two minutes left in the game. Four fouls in five-consecutive Unkrich possessions put his team within reach of a victory.

But his squad soon resorted to fouling in order to stop the clock, and two late free throws from Mohns sealed the game for Johnston.

“I and Carly are pretty big bodies, and we both have really good shot-blocking abilities,” Coley said. “Our teammates worked really hard around the perimeter and to force them one way or another.”


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