Finals and Basketball; A Balancing Act

Dec. 16, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The balance between class and practice is always tough for a student-athlete. When finals week rolls around, the balancing act becomes much more difficult.

Members of the University of Iowa women’s basketball team are shuffling through many different buildings on campus this week, bouncing from their favorite studying spot to classrooms for final exams and then to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for practice.

“It is a balance,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “I think they need to get back on the floor though. When you’re in finals and you’re studying all the time, it feels good to get out there and exercise and kind of forget about it for a while. It’s good for stress, and it’s good for your body to be able to do that.”

Junior Kamille Wahlin, one of four Hawkeyes named Academic all-Big Ten last season, said finals week is taxing, both mentally and physically.

“It’s definitely a tough stretch,” said Wahlin. “On one hand, you are trying to ace all of your tests and get good grades. On the other, we are preparing for three really important games, starting with Saturday’s game at South Dakota State. You have to find time for everything. Basketball is a great outlet. It’s nice just to go out and forget about classes for a while.”

Bluder isn’t too worried about the study habits of her team because they are great students.

“It’s really nice going into finals week not worrying about how we’re going to do,” said Bluder. “Having to worry if they are going to study or not. I don’t have to babysit them. They know how to study. They’ve done the prior work by attending classes and keeping up on their homework.”

The No. 15 ranked Hawkeyes have two more days of final exams before taking a well-deserved break from classes. Wahlin is looking forward to a little more time in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and a little less time in the classroom.

“As a team, we pride ourselves in having a great team grade-point average,” said Wahlin. “But, it’s always nice over winter break to just focus on basketball. We can really work on some things that we might not have time to get to during the fall semester. I know a lot of us enjoy staying a little longer after practice to get some shooting or extra drill work in. It’s a good break, mentally, for us during that time.”

Even with all the responsibilities that come with the title “student-athlete,” a 9-1 start and a national ranking seems to indicate the Hawkeyes are handling the balancing act just fine.