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Davis, Gustafson shine in championship

BY BRENT GRIFFITHS | JULY 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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NORTH LIBERTY — Beat the Bookstore/Wesport coach Kay DiLeo was away on vacation for her team’s appearance in the Game Time League title game on Wednesday. But after observing the first quarter, her replacement said all he had to do was sit back and watch.

“Honestly, I didn’t do anything. I had  the best seat in the house,” said Brendan Unkrich, who filled in for DiLeo for the second time this season.

The DiLeo/Unkrich squad won the title with a 112-67 win over Brian Joens’ Cullen/Joesy’s team.  By the time it was over, the winners, led by soon-to-be Hawkeyes Tania Davis and Megan Gustafson, had a 45-point win, two players with double-doubles, and six players with double-digit scoring.

After six lead changes hallway through the first quarter, Davis and Company took the lead and refused to relinquish it for the remainder of the game.

The key moment occurred right around the six-minute mark, when Gustafson nabbed a loose ball and promptly stashed it away for an easy lay-up giving her team a 11-10 lead.

“Our defense was really quiet in the gym, and we just started talking,” said Dartmouth’s Kate Letkewicz about what help lead to the breakaway scoring.

The scoring surge came courtesy of another Ivy Leaguer.

Penn’s Deja Jackson deposited a 3, Davis sprinted down the court for a give-and-go beneath the basket, and in a span of six minutes, a the 1-point lead became 10.

“She is one of the smartest basketball minds that I’ve dealt with, and it’s even more impressive because she will only be a freshman,” Unkrich said about Davis.

As for her bullet-train speed, Davis said, there are few people who can match her on the court, so expect to see just a blur.

“To me, it’s only me and Whitney Jennings, so when I’m out in the open field, I’m looking to push and use my foot speed to get around defenders,” she said.

A 3-pointer from Hawkeye Alexa Kastanek threatened to derail the run, but even her 26-point performance was not enough to save Joens’ team.

“When their [shots] weren’t falling, they were getting rebounds, and that is kind of a knock-down to your morale when you’re trying to get momentum and get back in the game; they get an O-board, and you have to play defense longer,” Kastanek said.

Gustafson has been the key to the DiLeo/Unkrich team’s domination of the glass all season, leading the league in rebounding at 14.2 per game. A key cog in Iowa’s 17th ranked recruiting class, Gustafson ended her first Game Time season with 20 rebounds and added 17 points.

Letkewicz, though, helped cement the insurmountable lead by drilling four 3-pointers. The Waterloo native finished with 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

The title was a rematch from a Week 1 meeting between the two squads. DiLeo’s team, which finished the regular season with just one loss, won that meeting by 24 points.

Ending the summer with a title gave Davis and Gustafson the momentum they want as they prepare to trade in their prime time jerseys for black and gold ones.

“We are just really excited to get our first championship in as freshmen,” Gustafson said.


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