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 JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Last season Alexis Sevillian watched as a redshirt for the University of Iowa women’s basketball team. Through seven games this season, the guard is the Hawkeyes’ second-leading scorer.
“We kept seeing her grow last year,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. “She improved a lot and got more comfortable. Now she isn’t your traditional freshman on the floor.”
Sevillian was a finalist for the Michigan Miss Basketball honor in 2016, a season where she averaged 22.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 3.6 steals at Goodrich High School.
After a season-ending injury to guard Tania Davis, Bluder toyed with playing Sevillian in 2016-17, but because of the Hawkeyes’ backcourt depth, Bluder opted to keep her in redshirt.
“We felt she was going to get lost because we had four more guards than we do now,” said Bluder. “She was too good to get lost in the shuffle.”
Sevillian embraced her redshirt season. She watched how then seniors Ally Disterhoft and Alexa Kastanek carried themselves and she took note of the on-court demeanor of Davis, Kathleen Doyle, and Mackenzie Meyer.
“I learned so much from those other guards,” said Sevillian. “How calm and patient Tania is as a point guard, she lets the game come to her. How aggressive Kathleen is. I feel like I can relate to each of them.”
Sevillian hit the ground running in her first collegiate game, scoring 11 points on three 3-pointers, in a season-opening win over Quinnipiac. In the six games since, Sevillian has scored in double figures five times and she is averaging 13.6 points and is shooting 47.1 percent from the field.
She does most of her damage from 3-point range, where she is connecting at a 42.2-percent rate with a team-best 19 3-pointers. It is a quick start for a first-year Hawkeye, but Sevillian isn’t surprised.
“I am confident in myself and I know my teammates and coaches are confident in me, too,” said Sevillian, who scored a career-high 21 points with 3-pointers in a Nov. 25 victory over Elon.
When Doyle missed two games because of an ankle injury, she knew the Hawkeyes wouldn’t miss a beat. Sevillian stepped into the starting lineup for a four-game stretch and averaged 13 points and 3.5 assists.
“Lexi worked so hard last year to get to do what she is doing now,” said Doyle. “We know she’s a capable scorer and defender. It was her time to shine and she killed it. I am not surprised at all (by her play); I knew she was going to play great.”
The Hawkeyes are 7-0 with victories against three teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. Iowa will take on a fourth returning NCAA team — No. 13 Florida State — in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at 7 p.m. (CT) Wednesday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It will be a good challenge for us,” said Sevillian. “We’re on a roll right now, going 7-0 and 3-0 in Florida. It’s a good challenge and we know what we need to do to take them down.”
Wednesday’s game will be a Black Out and Buck Night. All adult tickets are $1 and admission is free for youth (18 & younger). The game will also be televised on BTN with Chris Vosters and Brenda VanLengen on the call.