The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Inexperience beginning to show for Hawkeye women’s basketball

Sophomore Whitney Jennings goes up for a shot against Tennessee-Martin Sunday Nov. 15th, 2015. The Hawkeyes overcame an early deficit to win the game, 62-56. (The Daily Iowan/Kyle Close)

After the Hawkeye women’s basketball team’s second-straight loss on Sunday afternoon in Carver-Hawkeye, a common theme dominated the conversation of the postgame press conference.

This is a young team, and it’s beginning to show.

The 74-69 loss at the hands of then-No. 14 Michigan State on Sunday once again featured a Hawkeye squad unable to finish a close game, often committing unforced errors. Iowa ended the game with 19 turnovers.

After the game, head coach Lisa Bluder said she was impressed with how her youthful team fought. But she wasn’t satisfied with that consolation.

“We played competitively with Michigan State for most of that basketball game,” Bluder said. “That was a one-possession game with one minute left. We just had too many turnovers at inopportune times.”

Many of the lineups Bluder uses throughout games feature a slew of underclassmen. Freshmen Megan Gustafson and Tania Davis, along with sophomores Chase Coley and Whitney Jennings, are regularly on the court at the same time.

Inevitably, that causes some problems. Missed offensive opportunities and lack of defensive communication have made numerous appearances throughout the rocky season.

After the Michigan State loss dropped the team to 15-9 overall (5-7 Big Ten), Bluder offered little insight in to the mindset of her younger players.

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“We just have to keep moving forward,” she said. “That’s all we can do.”

As one of the team’s veteran leaders, junior guard Ally Disterhoft knows what it’s like to transition to big-time college basketball. She’s been the inexperienced freshman making costly mistakes.

But youth was no excuse for those mistakes for Disterhoft. In her freshman year, the Iowa City native was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection, an All-Freshman Big Ten selection, and she was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team.

Now, Disterhoft believes that her younger teammates are capable of the same success with a little bit more work.

“Yes, we’re a young team. But we’re going to continue to get better,” Disterhoft said after the Michigan State defeat. “Right now, it’s frustrating … we’re close. We’ve shown that. We just have to keep showing up to practice and working hard.”

One of Disterhoft’s young teammates, guard Davis, is in her first season with the Hawkeyes and averaging 8 points per game in slightly more than 23 minutes.

Davis admitted last week that she entered the season rather quietly, not wanting to “step on anyone’s toes.” The underclassman was wary of speaking up or trying to take control.

But now, the 2015 Michigan Miss Basketball has found out just how influential she can be with her fellow newbies. She knows that she can begin a turnaround and help the underclassmen.

And at the moment, the team desperately needs it.

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