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Pasta time for Hawkeyes

BY BRENT GRIFFITHS | AUGUST 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Replacing an All-Big Ten, All-American, and WNBA top-10 draft pick will not happen overnight for the Iowa women’s basketball team.

Even Hawkeyes who have never donned the Black and Gold know all too well the questions they will face without Sam Logic — Iowa’s great guard who dished out assists as easily as she found the bottom of the net.

“I think people are really doubting us because Sam is gone,” Alex Kastanek said. “We’ve lost big players in the past, too; we love her to death and miss her, and she is doing great in the WNBA, but I think we can come back and make it to the tournament. We can be just a good as we were last year.”

That said, the team’s upcoming European basketball trip could not come at a better time — especially with the loss of four graduated seniors and the arrival of four incoming freshmen.

“We have eight freshmen and sophomores on our team,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “If there’s ever a time to go, this is it. When you’re over there, you really get an opportunity to build chemistry, camaraderie among the women, and that is important in a basketball team.”

Beyond their time spent in the Game Time League this summer, the Hawkeyes gain 10 extra practices to prepare for their trip to play professional teams in Italy, a trip that will begin on Aug. 11.

The bonus only applies to teams making overseas jaunts, which means the Hawkeyes will have more time to prepare for this season than a number of their Big Ten counterparts.

It’s an exception to an NCAA rule that prohibits teams from practicing earlier than 30 days before the start of the season.

Iowa makes a foreign trip once every four years.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Purdue will head to Italy this weekend, and Ohio State will jet off for Brazil, Nebraska is playing in Australia, and Illinois will take in the City of Lights in France.

Aside from basketball, Iowa players are looking to gain more from the opportunity to visit another continent.

“I’m looking to something different and to explore and learn a different culture,” freshman guard Tania Davis said. “I want to get used to the feel of an Iowa uniform … and continue to gel with my teammates.”

Davis and freshman Megan Gustafson form a highly regarded duo that will add to Iowa’s young core for years to come.

The two Hawkeyes were big finds in Bluder’s 17th-ranked recruiting class of 2015. And thanks to Game Time, the freshmen had the summer to learn from each other.

“We learned each other’s tendencies, weakness, and each other’s strengths, so it was great playing with her — getting to play with a freshman post player,” Davis said about 6-3 Gustafson.

The extra time allowed them to hone particular aspects of their game, Gustafson said.

“This summer, I worked on trying to go with my right hand, because I am a very left-hand dominant player,” she said. “I also wanted to improve my outside shooting and try to run up and down the floor.”

If the Hawkeyes wish to return to the NCAA Tournament, they will have to find a way to replace the void left by Logic’s departure.

Maybe in a land of full of history, they will discover that Rome was not built in a day.


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