Jan. 19, 2010
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By Sean Neugent
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A blood clot, fractured eye socket and a herniated disc are just a few injuries the University of Iowa women’s basketball team has endured this season. The Hawkeyes will add one more to that list as Kamille Wahlin is questionable this week with back spasms.
“Kamille is questionable with back spasms for the past week and we just cannot cure them,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder during her weekly press conference Tuesday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We don’t know whether she will be able to go, or if she can go, for how long, or what percentage she really is. On Thursday during warm-ups against Penn State, she had to pull herself out and said she had really bad knots in her back. The doctors looked at it and could not believe the knots in her back right now. She can barely walk now that is a big blow to our team.”
Wahlin, the 5-foot-8 sophomore point guard, has been a pivotal player for Iowa. She has averaged 14 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, three assists, and is clutch at the free throw line shooting 87 percent.
If Wahlin sits out this week, the Hawkeyes will look for freshman Trisha Nesbitt to run the point and mix it up with Jaime Printy. They will also have recently added walk-on Megan Considine at the guard position.
“We won’t have really any substitutes at the guard,” Kachine Alexander said. “It’s going to be a little rough for us. Megan is just getting into the flow of things and may not know all the plays here and there, so it will pretty much be Trisha, Jaime and myself. (Wahlin) is our floor general, she is everything to this team, but I have a lot of faith in Trisha to step up. She has been behind Kamille this whole entire way and all summer and Kamille has taught her a lot.”
Bluder’s Bunch (8-10 overall, 1-6 Big Ten Conference) has been decimated by injuries, but every member of the team has stepped up their game to fill in the holes to keep a competitive team.
“We have things that I have never really seen before this year,” Bluder said. “Just odd injuries, but what do you do. You can’t control these things, you can’t look at a crystal ball to see when they are going to happen. It is just one of those things and you have to keep moving along and do the best you can. There are just not a lot of other options.”
With seven active players on the roster, the Iowa players have logged several minutes a game this season.
“We won’t have really any substitutes at the guard. It’s going to be a little rough for us. Megan is just getting into the flow of things and may not know all the plays here and there, so it will pretty much be Trisha, Jaime and myself.”
UI junior guard
Some teams would give up hope, but not the Hawkeyes. There is simply too much talent and leadership to even think about feeling sorry for themselves.
“We are just going to have to play,” Alexander said. “We can’t really worry about what we cannot do, what is not in our hands or under our control.”
The Hawkeyes can’t dwell on negatives, especially in a powerhouse conference like the Big Ten, otherwise they will be lost in the shuffle. Iowa’s primary focus is on a tough Illinois team (11-6, 3-4) and the Hawkeyes will have to accomplish something they have yet to do this Big Ten season: win on the road.
“Illinois is a team that is much improved over last year,” Bluder said. “They are playing better on their home court where they are 3-1 in conference play and their only loss was to Ohio State. Jenna Smith is one of the best posts in our conference; that is always a battle to try to contain Jenna and to make her life a little more difficult. She is averaging over a double-double.”
There is light at the end of the tunnel especially with a young cast of players that are gaining a valuable amount of of experience.
“I have never really been down to seven or eight players,” Alexander said. “I think the most I have ever been down to is 10, but at this point it isn’t really a shock to anybody. You just have to keep going.”
Iowa is keeping its youthful enthusiasm and will look to get stronger with each game as three of the six Big Ten losses were within six points.
The Hawkeyes may be without their floor general this week, but they know the drill and have been through this several times already this season.
Their only concern?
Preparing to stop the Fighting Illini on Thursday inside Assembly Hall with a 7 p.m. tipoff.