13 Hawkeyes will see playing time during exhibition

Nov. 1, 2007

IOWA CITY — No offense to Nebraska-Omaha, but the University of Iowa women’s basketball team will focus more on itself than the Mavericks Friday during a season-opening exhibition game beginning at 7:05 p.m., in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

UI Head Coach Lisa Bluder said she knows little about UNO and that the game will be an opportunity to get all 13 Hawkeyes playing time.

“I have (Nebraska-Omaha’s) five starters, their names and positions,” Bluder said. “I don’t even have their height or year or anything. To me, it just doesn’t matter. We’re going to get all 13 people in this game.”

The clock is ticking on naming a UI starting lineup. Bluder said junior Kristi Smith will start at point guard, junior Megan Skouby in the post and senior Krista VandeVenter at power forward.

“I really have three people battling for two positions, but that’s a great thing,” Bluder said.

Competing for the starting off-guard and small forward spots are seniors Johanna Solverson and Jenee Graham and junior Wendy Ausdemore.

“It doesn’t matter the five that start,” Bluder said. “The five that start may not get the most playing time. It’s a good thing, but we haven’t had to deal with it the last several years because we had so many minutes to go around for a limited amount of people.”

Last season Iowa was 14-16 overall, 6-10 in the Big Ten. Smith (13.4), Skouby (13.2) and Ausdemore (12.7) all averaged double-figure points. Graham averaged a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. Nebraska-Omaha was 16-12 a year ago and the Mavericks have four Iowans on their roster. The top returning UNO scorer is Cedar Rapids native Alyssa Green (10.3 ppg).

Bluder agrees that having a roster of 13 healthy bodies will make minute distribution decisions more difficult than in the past. She said that depth is a good problem to have and that the result of having an expanded roster has been showing up in practice.

“Where I recognize the value is in practice every day,” Bluder said. “Depth really makes you great during practice. It definitely makes us have to think more as far as getting people in and trying different lineups because there are so many lineups we can use.”

Iowa boasts a roster with five seniors — Graham, Solverson, VandeVenter, Abby Emmert and Stacy Schlapkohl. Other team members are juniors Ausdemore, Lindsey Nyenhuis, Skouby, Smith and Nicole VanderPol; sophomore JoAnn Hamlin and freshmen Kachine Alexander and Kelsey Cermak. Fans will have an opportunity to watch all of them on the floor Friday.

“We want to give everybody a chance to show us what they can do under the spotlight,” Bluder said. “How are they going to respond when there are people here, against someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing? How are they going to respond in competition?”

Iowa will host Missouri Western in an exhibition Thursday, Nov. 8, beginning at 7:05 p.m.

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