Oct. 6, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team held its first official practice of the 2014-15 season on Monday at the practice facility inside the Dale and Marilyn Howard Family Pavilion at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, signaling one thing: Hawkeye hoops is back.
“It is exciting to get back on the court with the team,” said sophomore Ally Disterhoft, who earned Big Ten All-Freshman team honors a year ago. “This is something we have been preparing for all summer. It was fun to get out there and start putting everything together.
“Everybody was getting after it today. We had to fight through a little fatigue; two and a half hours is a little longer than we are used to, but that is what this week is for… getting back into the flow of things.”
Iowa practiced from 8:30 to 11 a.m., before hitting the weights.
“It was fun,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder, now in her 15th season. “The players worked hard. Going from a one hour practice to a two-and-a-half-hour practice, plus 30 minutes of weights, is a big adjustment. We have to keep learning how to work at a high rate of speed and keep our focus for that entire time.”
For the players, official practices present a nice change of pace.
“Practice went well,” said senior Kathryn Reynolds, a team captain with classmates Samantha Logic and Melissa Dixon. “It is always fun to get going and in a different setting than the scrimmages we have had during the summer.”
“We always work on fundamentals, and now we are trying to incorporate the team aspect into practice,” said Bluder. “We do a little half-court offense, full-court offense… a nice mixture of skill development and team building.”
Iowa returns 10 letterwinners from a team that went 27-9 in 2014 and made its Big Ten-best seventh-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and adds four freshmen (Christina Buttenham, Chase Coley, Whitney Jennings, and Carly Mohns).
“The freshmen are doing really well,” said Bluder, the all-time winningest coach in program history. “I am extremely happy with them. With freshmen, you have to keep their confidence high because they have to learn an entirely new system.”
“It is exciting to start practicing,” said freshman Christina Buttenham, who spent the summer competing with the 2014 Canadian Junior Women’s National Team. “I was super nervous, because I missed the entire summer and am a little behind, so I am trying to catch up. The team is super helpful and supportive.
“I am excited for the season.”
The Hawkeyes open the regular season on Nov. 14, hosting USC Upstate at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Tickets are available by visiting the ticket office at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS, or online at hawkeyesports.com.