• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Hawkeye women’s basketball preview

Hawk Talk
Sports Writer Don Lund poses with junior guards Ally Disterhoft and Alexa Kastanek at Media Day for the Iowa Women’s Basketball program. (photo courtesy hawkeyesports.com)

By Don Lund
Sports Writer

What do you do when you have to replace three players who combined to score more points than any trio in the history of the Big Ten?
First, you recruit a top-20 class with point guard Tania Davis, who was named Michigan’s Miss Basketball last year.
Throw in Megan Gustafson, a 6-foot-3 center that scored more points than anyone in Wisconsin, 3,229.
Add Hannah Stewart, a 6-foot-2 center, named Miss Basketball in North Dakota, and add Tagyn Larson, a 6-foot-2 wing who was four-time all-state in South Dakota, and you have a good start.
The Hawkeyes have two starters back, and both are pretty good.
Junior Ally Disterhoft was named preseason All-Big Ten and was the only sophomore in America to be named Academic All-American.
Disterhoft led Iowa in points last year, 503, and the Hawks are 39-12 when Ally has started.
Whitney Jennings started 31 games last season as a freshman, and her 36 3-pointers were the third most of any freshman at Iowa.
Jennings has a different role after playing with Samantha Logic, Melissa Dixon and Bethany Doolittle last year.
“It was a blast,” said Jennings about playing with the senior trio. “Their ability to score and what they brought to the court. I went out there and contributed what I could but there was no pressure on me which was nice as a freshman.”
Last summer, Jennings averaged over 30 points a game in Game Time and was named the league MVP.
When Jennings was a senior in high school she was named Indiana Miss Basketball and averaged 32 points per game. Look for her to step up her scoring after 9.1 points per game in her freshman season.
Kali Peschel started 19 games as a sophomore and three last year. Coach Lisa Bluder said Peschel played her best basketball the last month of last season.
Sophomore Chase Coley will compete with Gustafson for the center position. Coley played in 29 games last year, scoring 83 points (2.9 per game), and led the team in field goal percentage (.649).
Coach Bluder expects Coley to score more for the Hawks.
Look for junior Alexa Kastanek, who played in 32 games last year, to have a bigger role.
Coach Bluder said Kastanek and sophomore Kristina Buttenham are both playing really well.
“Claire Till and Carly Mohns are doing a great job on the boards for us,” said coach Bluder. “I thing we’re going to be a better rebounding team because of the efforts of those two women.”
Senior Nicole Smith, 6-foot-4, adds size in the middle and will challenge Cooley and Gustafson in practice.
The talk at media day was the speed of the two guards, Jennings and Davis, and the up-tempo pace so far.
The Hawks should be fun to watch.