Ally Disterhoft, Scholar-Athlete

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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. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.

By DARREN MILLER
hawkeyesports.com

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two numbers are significant for University of Iowa student-athlete Ally Disterhoft, who coincidentally wore jersey No. 2 four seasons for the Hawkeye women’s basketball team.
 
The first is 2,102 — the points she scored in 137 basketball games for Iowa from 2013-17. The second is 4.03, her cumulative collegiate grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale).
 
Disterhoft scored more points than any Hawkeye women’s basketball player in the 42 years of the program’s existence. That feat helped her become a three-time All-Big Ten performer and first-team selection as a senior.
 
The grade-point average supported Disterhoft as she became a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and two-time Academic All-American of the Year. Disterhoft is only the fifth scholar-athlete to win the Academic All-American of the Year for women’s basketball in back-to-back years.
 
With all the athletic and academic accolades, how does this epitome of a student-athlete want to be remembered?
 
“I hope it’s a combination of both,” Disterhoft said. “I left my mark on the court, which is awesome and that is what I wanted to do. I wasn’t able to do that by myself, I have said that a ton of times.
 
“I hope people remember me for my academic success, too, and they can look at me and see that it can be done. You can have success both on the court and in the classroom. It is challenging, you have to make a lot of sacrifices along the way, but it can be done if you put your mind to it.”
 
Disterhoft woke early April 25, attending classes at 8 and 9:30 a.m., in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. She is pursuing majors in finance and accounting — the first degree will be bestowed in mid-May, the second she will earn next December.
 
“It’s not possible I could get 150 hours in four years with basketball,” Disterhoft said.
 
In order to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam, 150 semester hours are required. That means Disterhoft will begin at Barclays Investment Bank in New York City this summer and return to campus in the fall to complete the academic work needed to sit for the CPA.
 
Even then, Disterhoft isn’t coasting toward commencement. She is enrolled in 15 hours this semester, including an advanced financial accounting class with associate professor Rick Merenthaler.
 
On this morning, she was joined in the C107 Midwest Resources Classroom by 19 classmates who were reviewing topics such as rite of offset, installment liquidation, loss-absorption potential, and profit-loss sharing ratio. Disterhoft was called on with questions three times during the 75-minute class and she knocked down the answers the same way she knocked down 709 field goals in her collegiate basketball career.
 
It was a fantastic career for the homegrown Hawkeye from Iowa City West High School.
 

 I left my mark on the court, which is awesome and that is what I wanted to do…I hope people remember me for my academic success, too, and they can look at me and see that it can be done. You can have success both on the court and in the classroom. It is challenging, you have to make a lot of sacrifices along the way, but it can be done if you put your mind to it. — Ally Disterhoft

 
Iowa won 92 games with Disterhoft in the lineup, making two trips to the NCAA Tournament and two trips to the WNIT. For her career, Disterhoft started 118 games, shooting 49 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3-point, and 74 percent from the free throw line.
 
When she left Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a final time as a player March 26, Disterhoft was No. 1 in school history in scoring, tied for seventh in 3-point field goals (162), 11th in rebounding (788), and 14th in assists (313). She is proud of her on-court contributions, but being a two-time Academic All-American on the Year truly makes the grade.
 
“Those are two awards I am very, very proud of because that is who I have strived to be,” Disterhoft said. “I have strived to be a great basketball player, but academics were equally important to me and my family. To be able to (be Academic All-American of the Year) last year and then to accomplish it again this year is something that is special and it ranks up there with the other recognitions. That and the scoring record probably take the cake.”
 
It has been a month since Disterhoft last practiced or played a competitive basketball game. She has picked up a basketball once or twice since, but just to fool around with friends.
 
“I have taken the approach of staying away so I can move on and not linger around the program too much,” she said. “I have been back to Carver-Hawkeye Arena a few times, but I am enjoying being a college student and hanging out with people I haven’t been able to see for a while.”
 
Disterhoft never gave the notion of playing in the WNBA or overseas much thought. She remains passionate about the sport, but when she looked down the road two or three years, she became even more eager about putting her diploma to use.
 
“I am extremely excited to start my professional journey,” Disterhoft said. “It is where my heart is and it wasn’t driven by money.”
 

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