Dec. 18, 2012
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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 — Thirty-four seconds remained in Sunday’s Iowa-Drake women’s basketball game when Hawkeye senior Trisha Nesbitt sank two free throws to conclude the scoring.
The points left Nesbitt with a career-high 12 in one game, but that was suppressed behind the fact that Iowa’s 82-65 victory in the Knapp Center in Des Moines gave the Hawkeyes a mythical state championship for a second time in Nesbitt’s career.
Nesbitt, senior Jaime Printy, and freshman Claire Till are native Iowans. Nesbitt is from Ames, Printy from Marion, and Till from Dubuque. Winning a “state championship” assures bragging rights for those three in general, and it is magnified when it is done during your final season of eligibility.
“That is a goal we set at the beginning of the year, so to be able to come out — especially in my senior year — to finish being state champions is really cool,” Nesbitt said.
Nesbitt might have established another career high Sunday. With her hometown of Ames a mere 30 miles from Des Moines, Nesbitt somehow managed to finagle 18 tickets for family and friends.
“Being so close to home, there are a lot of people around me who support and know me, and watched me play in high school,” Nesbitt said. “It was fun to have so many people come out and support, and for us to have such a great game.”
“I don’t expect to play a lot unless there is foul trouble or they need a lineup change. I went in when they called on me, and the ball happened to go my way. As a team, we had a bunch of people step up who aren’t usually the ones to step up.”
UI senior guard
UI senior center Morgan Johnson made 11-of-19 field goals, with eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 38 minutes to lead the Hawkeyes on the statistics sheet. In 15 minutes off the bench, Nesbitt contributed 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the line. She made 2-of-3 3-point field goals.
“I don’t expect to play a lot unless there is foul trouble or they need a lineup change,” Nesbitt said. “I went in when they called on me, and the ball happened to go my way. As a team, we had a bunch of people step up who aren’t usually the ones to step up.”
The offensive effort snapped a three-game scoreless skid for Nesbitt, who entered the contest averaging 9.3 minutes and 1.6 points in 10 games.
Nesbitt is a team captain along with Johnson and Printy. The three came to the UI together in the fall of 2009; Printy has scored 1,542 points in 99 games and Johnson has scored 1,291 points in 107 games. Nesbitt’s stick-to-it-ness makes Sunday’s performance that much more memorable. She has one career start in 76 games.
“Everybody wants to play, but I have learned that I can lead in so many different ways on this team and there has to be a role,” Nesbitt said. “Every person has a different role, and if we don’t buy into them we’re not going to be as successful of a team. I try to buy into what they want from me, execute that and be the best leader I can be.”
Nesbitt’s unselfishness is an example for all young Division I players — so used to being stars in high school — that patience is a virtue. And being a team player is an even greater asset.
“It’s nice to have my teammates behind me, and to see their excitement when I make a basket is really, really special,” Nesbitt said. “If you put work in every day and you do what you need to do for the team, sometimes things will fall your way.”
That sometime was Sunday for Nesbitt, who also tied career highs with four made free throws and two made 3-point field goals.
“It gives me confidence knowing the coach (Lisa Bluder) trusts me,” Nesbitt said. “Then it is just a matter of making the most of an opportunity when I get it.”