Disterhoft back in action

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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A familiar face showed up to the Game Time League on Wednesday night, at exactly the time her team needed a boost.

Donning a brace on her surgically repaired wrist, Ally Disterhoft took center stage.

“She just provides another dimension on the offensive end,” player-coach Bethany Doolittle said. “She gives us a whole new level of something for the other team to worry about.”

Last summer’s Game Time MVP, Disterhoft led Doolittle’s Comfort Care/Pelling to a dominating 93-69 victory over Vinton Joe Johnston’s Merchants/Culver’s. She scored 29 points in her league début, shooting 6-of-6 from beyond the arc.

The Iowa City native underwent surgery in April to repair a ruptured tendon in her right thumb and wrist area; she was cleared for Wednesday night’s action.

With Disterhoft onboard, Doolitle’s squad glided to its first win of the year while facing elimination — it went winless in the regular season.

“I try to get out there and play as unselfishly as I can,” Disterhoft said. “And I think that just with one more body out there, other teams aren’t going to be able to double-team Beth as much as they have been in the past.”

Her presence instantly transforms a last-place team into a serious contender — a team that all of a sudden finds itself one win away from reaching the championship.

And that’s bad news for opposing teams.

NCAA rules dictate that only two Hawkeye players can be on a particular roster, and up until tonight those two were Hailey Schneden and incoming freshman Tagyn Larson. The problem is that Larson hadn’t played all year because she has not been medically cleared. Disterhoft was cleared on July 8, and her addition to means Larson will have to sit out.

The reality is that Disterhoft, if healthy at the time of the draft, would have almost certainly been picked with the first or second selection. Doolittle and Company now essentially get her at a third-round value — where Larson was picked.

It’s unfortunate for other teams, but the purpose of the league is to give college players more practice in the summer.

“Ally’s better than what you’d get with a third-round pick, so that’s the unfairness of it,” league Commissioner Randy Larson said after coaching the team on Wednesday. “But the league exists to help the Iowa girls develop, and this is one of the things that Iowa coaches thought was important for Ally.”

Disterhoft averaged 14.8 points for the Hawks as a sophomore last season during their run to the Sweet 16.

The summer before that, her Game Time team steamrollered its way through league play — not losing a single game en route to a championship finish.

All of this has Doolittle’s players confident, and rightfully so. They spent much of the season battling with an underwhelming roster, and the process forced them to build chemistry with the players that they had.

And now, they have a star — a player who can carry the load offensively and take double teams away from Doolittle in the post.

With a core of Disterhoft, Doolittle, and Schneden (who had a double-double Wednesday night), Comfort Care’s 0-4 start likely feels like a distant dream.

“This team, 0-4, we’ve kind of just forgotten about that,” Disterhoft said. “It seems like anyone can really score at this point on this team.”

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