Game Time is back in North Liberty as the action started last week at the North Liberty Recreation Center.
It was business as usual as Melissa Dixon and Samantha Logic scored 41 and 29 points respectively. Melissa’s team won and Samantha’s lost on opening night.
Melissa, who was named the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year, hit her first three 3-pointers and should be in the starting lineup when the season starts.
Samantha, whose, teamed trailed by 12 with five minutes left, hit a couple of threes and almost brought her team back.
Samantha, who will be a junior, will have more of a leadership role as a junior since Theairra Taylor is the only senior.
Jaime Printy, Morgan Johnson and Trisha Nesbitt all graduated and were great leaders on and off the floor.
“We had great people ahead of us teaching us how to lead,” said Samantha, who led the Big Ten in assists last year (6.4). “I think people try to embrace that.”
Randy Larson, who runs the summer leagues and also coaches said if Samantha cuts down on mistakes she could have a triple-double almost every night.
That’s double figures in points, assists and rebounds.
“Samantha is now to a point where she isn’t young and developing,” said Randy. “She needs to be the first team All-Big Ten player that we all saw that she could be.”
It’s always fun to see the new recruits and the Hawkeyes have two good ones.
Ally Disterhoft and Alexa Kastanek are good ball handlers, can shoot and look like they are ready to play.
“They’re versatile,” said Samantha. “They both can play the two or three positions and that will really help out in a lot of situations.”
Ally and Alexa are roommates this summer and they played against each other last week.
Ally looked good driving to the basket and finished with 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
“It was fun,” said Ally. “I was a little nervous out there but it was good to play.”
Ally can play the two, three or four positions and will play whatever the coaches ask. She grew up a Hawkeye fan so she is looking forward to her first game at Carver.
“I think it will be a little surreal the first time but you have to snap out of it and get after it,” said Ally, who was named Miss Basketball last season at West High.
Alexa had 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists and also looked good driving to the basket.
Randy Larson likes the two newcomers for the Hawks.
“They are both top-60 players in the nation and it’s been a long time since we signed two top-60 players,” said Randy. “Small class but very talented. There aren’t that many holes to fill.”
“Ally is such a good shooter that the two and the three is where she will be,” Randy said. “It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she took over Melissa Dixon’s role of being the first player off the bench. She could come in for Melissa or Theairra Taylor and play almost as many minutes as they do.”
Iowa loses two starters, but Randy feels that Melissa Dixon can fill in for Jaime and Bethany Doolittle will probably move back to center.
“I think there is a lot of excitement about the fact that there’s no dip in talent,” said Randy. “Claire Till showed sparks before she got hurt and there is some good young talent ready to blossom.”
The Hawkeye freshman from last year started out strong but struggled down the stretch.
Kali Peschel played in 28 games last year and logged over 12 minutes seven times.
“Last year was a learning year for me and learning from my mistakes,” said the 6-1 sophomore. “I have a lot more confidence this year and the coaches said they have confidence in me. I hope to have a lot better summer and season and I hope to contribute more.”
Kali enjoys playing with Samantha, who sees the court as well as anyone, and Melissa, who is one of the best shooters in the Big Ten.
“Sam will find you on the court and will get you the ball,” said Kali. “Melissa, if she’s open on the baseline, will hit the shot.”
Randy thinks that one year of experience should help Kali step up her game this year.
“I look for Kali to blossom this year because everything will become second nature to her,” said Randy. “I think she could be the surprise of the summer league because she is so talented.”
Claire Till was kind of like Kali. She started strong and then got hurt, missed a couple of games and had a tough time down the stretch.
She played in 16 games before an injury and looked good early on.
“It was always my dream to come to Iowa.” said Claire. “I kind of grew up around here. I knew the coaches and players and was extremely excited. I was ready to work hard.”
Claire also talked about how the three seniors that graduated were great leaders and were there when you needed them.
Claire and Ally Disterhoft played on the same AAU team and played against each other in high school.
“She’s one of my best friends so it’s kind of fun,” said Claire, who was a two-time all-state pick from Dubuque.
Her first game as a Hawkeye last year was great.
“I can’t put words to it,” said Claire. “It’s everything I ever wanted in life. It was so great to see my name on the back of that jersey.”
Claire’s mom Shelly is the color person on the radio for the Hawkeyes. Claire said she sometimes gets more nervous for her mom and what she is saying on the radio, especially if Claire makes a mistake on the court.
Kayla Timmerman also had her ups and downs as a freshman.
She played in 26 games and had over 10 minutes in six games.
Kayla was learning a new position playing center full time, so it will be fun to see how much she can improve this summer.