Iowa City, IA — Determined for a second win to continue their strong start to the season, the Iowa Hawkeyes stymied the three-point magicians of Hampton and walked off the court victorious. With dominate inside presence by Chase Coley, Tania Davis, and surprises from an already dominating freshmen squad, the young team took the gold with an ending score of 84-51.
Early on the Hawkeyes struggled to shut down Hampton’s Monnaz Finney-Smith’s barrage of threes in the first half, but still managed to maintain a slight yet comfortable 12-point lead at the end of the first half.
By implementing a platoon system, Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder has been working to ensure her entire team is fit to play at any time. One key player in that system is Coley, who played an incredible role in carrying the Hawks to their win in the third and fourth quarters, walking away with seven rebounds in the second half.
Coley serves as an effective post player for Bluder’s second unit and has become a vital leader on the floor.
“I feel like I have a different role this year,” Coley said. “I feel like my job out there is to make sure I keep the energy rolling from the first group into the second group. When one person gets a little energy, it sparks it for the rest of the team, and that's really my goal out on the court right now.”
And that insurmountable energy is essential, as she has to keep going comes from Iowa’s weapon underneath the boards in post player Megan Gustafson. Gustafson chipped in with 11 rebounds and 14 points.
While the Pirate post players put up a fight, Gustafson and Coley conquered.
“I think today we played against a couple of pretty good post players — a little bit stronger than what we played against on Friday,” Gustafson said. “Coach is working with me and the other post players on our footwork. Just being able to read instead of predetermining post moves, that's been a huge thing for me from freshman year to now.”
Youth is served
Thanks to the rebounding and points from young players Hannah Stewart and Makenzie Meyer, scoring 10 points and seven points, respectively, the Hawkeyes have positioned themselves in a place of offensive power following this afternoon’s performance against Hampton.
Bluder is excited to showcase what her young squad is made of.
“Whenever you have eight freshmen and sophomores […] you're relying on them,” Bluder said. “If you want to have any success, they've got to produce for us. We’ve got stuff up our sleeve.”