Keeping the intensity

Iowa+forward+Kali+Peschel+attempts+to+shoot+the+ball+during+the+Iowa-Baylor+game+of+the+Sweet+Sixteen+round+of+the+NCAA+tournament+in+Chesapeake+Energy+Arena+in+Oklahoma+City+on+Friday%2C+March+27%2C+2015.+The+Hawkeyes+were+defeated+by+the+Bears%2C+81-66.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FMargaret+Kispert%29

Iowa forward Kali Peschel attempts to shoot the ball during the Iowa-Baylor game of the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament in Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Friday, March 27, 2015. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Bears, 81-66. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Rod Engblom, [email protected]

ROSEMONT, Illinois Last season, the Iowa women’s basketball team had a successful year with seniors Samantha Logic, Bethany Doolittle, and Melissa Dixon leading the charge, finishing 2014-15 with a Sweet 16 appearance.

With the trio gone, there’s a void to be filled, both in scoring and in the leadership that guides the team.

The three seniors who graduated led the team in scoring. Logic led the team in minutes, averaging 35.1 per game. Melissa Dixon made 124 of 275 3-point field goals, and Bethany Doolittle shot 48 percent from the field.

Although Logic, Dixon, and Doolittle took the spotlight last season, there still are some solid scorers on the team this season.

“It was definitely tough losing those three seniors,” senior Kali Peschel said. “But as a team, we learned a lot from them, especially in the returners. We got Ally [Disterhoft] and Whitney [Jennings] coming back in that starting lineup, and they’re going to be really big for us in the offensive game.”

Last season, Disterhoft, now a junior, averaged 32.5 minutes a game. Jennings averaged 9.1 points per game and also played in every game.

“I don’t think it’s because of losing certain players you’re going to lose that intensity,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I think you have a culture that you establish in your program that continues to roll.”

Even after finding a tremendous amount of success last season, the hunger to win is still there.

“Being able to get a little bit of a taste of what it’s like to play at the Sweet 16 is going to motivate us even more,” Peschel said. “For me, going there my junior year, I just want to get back there, and you don’t want to cut yourself short, and I don’t think this team is going to do that.”

Along with the points that last seniors were able to put up, the team also lost a strong core of leadership.

With this role empty, Disterhoft has stepped up to fill that void.

“I’ve been trying to step more into that vocal leadership role,” she said. “I think you always need to improve as a player, so both offensively and defensively I’m trying to get stronger.”

Taking this leadership on the Iowa women’s basketball team is also a sweet feeling for Disterhoft, an Iowa City product.

“It’s kind of cool because it’s come full circle,” Disterhoft said. “I grew up watching these girls, looking up to them, and they were my role models and to be able to now be that person for a young girl or to maybe set that example is really special.”

Despite the numerous losses the team had after last season, the Hawkeyes are confident in their game and are ready to take on this upcoming season in full stride.

“I don’t think that losing players changes your intensity,” Bluder said. “It’s something that we try to build it’s something that’s a part of our culture, it’s something that we don’t have to recreate.”

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