By Don Lund
The Game Time league opened Wednesday, June 22, in North Liberty and it was nice to see the five new Iowa recruits in action.
The very first game had Bethany Doolittle, a 6-3 center from Minnesota, going up Morgan Johnson, a 6-5 starter the last two seasons at center.
Bethany actually held her own against Morgan. She was 7-10 from the floor and hit a 3-pointer to help her team to an 85-61 win.
“Another big person was really needed, so great job of recruiting to find that person that can back up Morgan,” said Randy Larson, director and coach in Game Time. “This will help Morgan get some rest during games and with competition in practice.”
It also was nice that Bethany had Kamille Wahlin (29 points) and Kalli Hansen (13) on her team.
Morgan started strong in the first half and finished with 14 points.
Bethany likes the fact that she gets to practice and play against Morgan.
“It does help out,” said Bethany. “I did not have anyone that size around me in high school.”
Bethany also likes it that Iowa is not short on talent.
“It’s definitely nice to know that there’s so many good players on one team and you have so many people that can step up and play a really good game for you,” she said.
The second game had two of Iowa’s top recruits as teammates as Virginia Johnson and Samantha Logic teamed up.
Virginia, who just graduated from City High went against one of her former teammates, Kelly Krei.
They are both 6-2, they both run the floor well and they can shoot the three so it was a great match-up.
“I think what’s unusual about Virginia is that she’s clearly the best athlete out there,” said Randy. “She’s not a great shooter yet but has the ability to play outside. Her transition is all going to be about defense. She’s not quite sound yet and needs to develop that part of her game. She’s a great athlete.”
Kelly dropped in 19, K.K. Armstrong of UNI 17 and new Iowa recruit Melissa Dixon had 14. Kelly’s team won 67-55.
“Kelly definitely made the difference,” said Virginia, who scored eight and had 15 rebounds. “I learned a lot from her.”
Samantha, who was rated the 10th best prospect in the nation, made her debut with 23 points, including 7-10 from the free throw line. She’s getting to know her teammates.
“We live close to each other,” said Samantha. “We’re hanging out, taking the same classes and working out. I’m just looking to fit in.”
Samantha is versatile enough that she can play the point guard, shooting guard or small forward.
“I would guess that Jaime Printy goes to the small forward and Samantha is the shooting guard,” said Randy. “She wants to make everyone around her better as a passer but this summer, her team needs her to score, so we’ll see how she does with that.”
It will be interesting to see where she fits in best.
Samantha was going up against Melissa Dixon, who came to Iowa because she enjoyed playing AAU basketball with Samantha.
Melissa, a 5-8 shooting guard, showed she has a quick release and hit two 3-pointers in the win.
“She comes in with a reputation as a shooter and the Iowa coaches love her and I can see why,” said Randy. “Girls who are automatic 3-point shooters are so hard to find and I think it’s just great to have another shooter.”
Melissa and her teammates are looking forward to their trip to Europe in August where they will get to practice for 10 days before they take off.
“I think it will help to get ready for the season,” said Melissa, who was first team all-state in Illinois. “It will be good to get to know my teammates and start to learn the system.”
Kathryn Reynolds, a 5-7 point guard, scored nine points in a losing cause in her first game.
“Kathryn Reynolds, you can just tell, is a natural leader,” said Randy, who coaches Kathryn this summer. “She’s a really nice shooting point guard. We’ve seen what a weapon Kamille Wahlin can be as a shooting point guard. She’s a good decision maker and tries to make everyone better.”
Kathryn is looking forward to learning from Kamille.
“Being behind Kamille I’ll have a lot of leadership to learn from her,” said Kathryn. “There’s no better point guard to come in behind than her and hopefully I’ll be able to learn and take as much as I can.”
Four starters back, a solid bench if Trisha Nesbitt and Theairra Taylor are healthy and five talented freshman…it should be a fun run for the next couple of years.