Women’s hoops stresses depth

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Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder shouts down the court to the players to adjust the game plan, Iowa defeated Western Illinois in overtime 96-81 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Nov. 19 in Iowa City, Iowa.(The Daily Iowan/Anthony Vazquez)

Bench players prove key for the Hawkeyes
By Rod Engblom

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The Iowa women’s basketball team is 6-1 on the season after its last game, against Houston on Nov. 28, seemingly not skipping a beat from a year ago.

On the same date last year, the Hawkeyes had the same record. The only difference is this year’s team lacks the seniors of last season who contributed to the majority of the Hawks’ scoring.

Despite all the preseason speculation that the team won’t perform to the same standards it did last season, it still produces wins, in part because of its depth.

“I think we have pretty balanced scoring,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I think that’s always good to see I think that we have three people in double figures and a fourth that’s really close and then a couple players right behind there.”

While there are three starters averaging in double figures in points per game, right behind them are key bench Hawks Megan Gustafson and Tania Davis, who are creeping towards the double-figure mark.

Sophomore Carly Mohns also made a statement against Houston, scoring 11 points, going 5-of-7 in field goals and 1-of-3 on 3s.

“Carly Mohns was a bright spot over the weekend,” Bluder said. “Carly Mohns really came in and played well for us.”

Mohns hasn’t started a single game this season and has played 77 minutes.

Another bench player who has played consistently well for the team is freshman Gustafson.

“I think it’s really nice to know that I can help out whenever I can,” she said. “It’s nice to know that the coaches have that faith in me that I can help out as much as I can as well.”

Gustafson averages 9.3 points, and she has 13 offensive rebounds along with 17 defensive rebounds, which has contributed greatly to a team that has sometimes struggled in the post.

The help off the bench also proved to be instrumental in the Hawkeyes first tournament of the season, playing three games in three days in the Lone Star Showcase. Fresh legs were needed in what Kali Peschel called a “leg race,” especially in their last game against Houston University.

Although the starters of the team are playing well in leading the squad to victories, the depth off the bench was a key factor for the Hawks’ sitting at 6-1.

“We’re getting people to score on and off the bench,” senior Peschel said. “Carly Mohns had a great week for us and really helped us, and Megan does a great job coming off the bench and our starters are really playing well so it’s good to see our team grow in that aspect.”

Follow @rodengblom on Twitter for Iowa women’s basketball news, updates, and analysis.

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