Nov. 9, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Even with subplots and interesting story lines, the No. 19 University of Iowa women’s basketball team kept its focus Sunday during a 119-57 exhibition victory over St. Ambrose.
St. Ambrose is where UI head coach Lisa Bluder cut her teeth on college coaching. She was 169-36 in six seasons at the NAIA school located in Davenport, Iowa. Both the Hawkeyes and Bees had a guard named Logic in the starting lineup: Iowa’s Samantha scored five points with six assists in 19 minutes; St. Ambrose’s Brette scored six points with four assists in 24 minutes.
“I thought we did a good job keeping our focus and intensity the entire time,” Bluder said. “That’s not always easy to do, but we did get better at executing.”
The Hawkeyes shot 53 percent from the field (41-of-78), 83 percent from the line (24-of-29), and were successful on half of their 26 3-point field goal attempts. Iowa dominated the glass, holding a 58-33 edge in rebounding. More rewarding in Bluder’s eyes is what the Hawkeyes did and didn’t do with the ball. They did dole out (28 assists on 41 field goals); they didn’t give it away (nine turnovers).
“I love the way they distributed the ball,” Bluder said. “I love that we only had nine turnovers because we had the ball in our hand a lot for a lot of possessions.”
Senior Bethany Doolittle compiled a double-double for the Hawkeyes with game-highs in points (21) and rebounds (11). Freshman Chase Coley made the most of 14 minutes of court time with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Doolittle, Coley, and freshman Carly Mohns had six offensive rebounds.
Joining Coley and Mohns as Carver-Hawkeye Arena rookies were Whitney Jennings (who started at guard) and Christina Buttenham. Jennings scored eight points with five assists, Mohns flirted with a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds, and Buttenham scored five points with five rebounds.
“Our freshmen did well for the first time out,” Bluder said. “Two of them accounted for 21 rebounds. That’s nice. Carly and Chase both had six offensive rebounds along with Beth. So that was nice to see. We needed Whitney to get her comfortable in that role, and I thought we accomplished that. The freshmen did a very good job.”
It might have been an exhibition game in early November, but 3,990 fans ventured to Carver-Hawkeye Arena (40 were with the Logic clan), providing a spirited environment.
“It was great to see that many people from both St. Ambrose and Iowa,” St. Ambrose head coach Krista Van Hauen said. “It is great to give our kids that experience; they were in a big arena and for the most part I don’t think they were affected. They soaked up the experience this whole day.”
“I want to thank our fans for coming out because it’s an exhibition game and they’re not used to us playing,” Bluder said. “You’re not used to Sundays looking forward to the women’s basketball games yet, and they came out here. I think that’s how excited they are about our season. They’re excited about seeing these freshmen play.”
Sydney Greiner scored 16 points to lead St. Ambrose. Seventeen Bees and 13 Hawkeyes saw action.
Iowa returns to its home court Friday to face University of South Carolina Upstate with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT).
In the next five days, Bluder said, the Hawkeyes will emphasize zone defense, boxing out, and defensive transition.
“Those are three things we identified as needing work,” she said.