Tough road for player-coach Doolittle

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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Bethany Doolittle stepped up to the plate when the Game Time League was short on coaches before the season, and she is now discovering the struggles of playing for and managing a team simultaneously.

“Doolittle has to do both,” league Commissioner Randy Larson said after the first week. “When I’m not on the bench, I’m going to help Bethany coach.”

The little bit of help Larson has been able to provide has not amounted to much, as the ex-Hawkeye and now French pro has led Comfort Care/Pelling to an 0-3 start in the Game Time, with seemingly no answers in sight on how to right the ship.

Doolittle also drafted the team, which has a well-rounded roster. At forward, 6-2 Hailey Schneden provides Doolittle with a formidable partner in the frontcourt. Guard Tagyn Larson is a three-star incoming freshman for Iowa.

Brette Logic, the sister of you-know-who, and Jazz Royster give Doolittle’s squad a well-rounded group of athletes from the wing into the post.

But the results just have not been there.

Doolittle caught a break when obtaining the first pick of the draft but had little choice but to use it on herself. The lack of a game-changing point guard has hampered a number of teams in the league, and her team is no exception.

Individually, Doolittle has played about as well as one would expect from a three-year starter at a Big Ten school. Although she struggled last week in a loss to McCurry’s/BlendCard, she averages 17.7 points per game and 9.3 rebounds.

She’s third in Iowa women’s basketball history with 184 blocks and averaged better than 14 points in both her junior and senior seasons.

She’s a great player but not enough to carry a team.

With only sporadic bursts of scoring from Logic, Schneden, and others, the offense simply just hasn’t been there for the team to date.

As a team, Doolittle and Company average slightly more than 65 points per game — second worst in league play. The lack of offense appears to be increasing as well; last week, the team scored just 53.

That type of output won’t cut it in the fast-paced, up-and-down nature of Game Time play. Without a the presence of perimeter scoring, an effective point guard, and an experienced coach, things look bleak for the team.

Larson, who also coaches 3-0 Marion Iron, did offer to help coach the team, but his opportunities to do so have been few and far between. Because of the way the league’s schedule works, Larson’s team is more than likely either playing Doolittle or playing at the same time.

On Wednesday, the group will get a chance to enter the win column when it takes on Joe Johnston’s Vinton Merchants/Culver’s — the only team in the league averaging fewer points (60.0 per game).

But what Johnston’s team does have is Iowa forwards Chase Coley and Carly Mohns. Mohns offensively shows aggressiveness, finesse, and strength in attacking the rim. Coley is an athletic post scorer and possibly the league’s best defender, making Doolittle’s job this week even tougher than it already is.

Because her game starts at 7:30 p.m. and Larson’s starts at 6 p.m., he should be able to help coach the team. But still, he has little chemistry with the players, and it could be another long night for Doolittle and Company.

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