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

Disterhoft shines, in and out of spotlight

Each year, the Daily Iowan Sports staff votes on a number of awards: Newcomer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, and Team of the Year are awarded. Today, we hand out the Female Athlete of the Year award.
The Daily Iowan; Photos by Alex
Iowa guard Ally Disterhoft takes a three point shot during the quarterfinal game of the Women’s NIT between Washington State and Iowa at Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The Cougars went on to defeat the Hawkeyes 74-66. (The Daily Iowan/ Alex Kroeze)

The spotlight has been on Ally Disterhoft for a long time.

When she finished junior high and moved over to Iowa City West High, the spotlight was on her to win state championships. And she did.The spotlight was on her when she made her college decision, which was an easy one. She grew up dreaming of becoming a Hawkeye, so picking Iowa was a no-brainer.

When she got to Iowa, the spotlight was on her. Playing college basketball in her own backyard came with the pressure to perform well. And she did. Disterhoft started 17 games her freshman year and averaged just over 13 points per game.

Fast forward three seasons, and no Hawkeye women’s basketball player has ever scored more points than Disterhoft’s 2,102.

Her consistency (she scored in double digits in all but a handful of her 118 career games) and her leadership over the past four seasons have earned Disterhoft the title of Daily Iowan Female Athlete of the Year.

“It is a really cool story,” Disterhoft said in March of her journey to Iowa. “I’m so appreciative and grateful of all the opportunities I’ve been given along the way. Obviously, a lot hard work has gone into it, but a lot of kids work hard, and they don’t get the opportunities I’ve been given along the way.”

After having her team qualify for the Sweet 16 during her sophomore year, Disterhoft saw senior teammates Sam Logic, Melissa Dixon, and Bethany Doolittle graduate.

The following year, the Hawkeye locker room went through a youth movement. For much of the season, Disterhoft started along with four underclassmen, and she took over more of the scoring load. Her 17.1 points per game average during her junior season was her highest season total in her four years.

Her senior season was no different, besides the emergence of Megan Gustafson as the No. 1 scorer on the team. Disterhoft again averaged a healthy 16.5 points per game and led the team with over 33 minutes per game.

Her crowning achievement came against Missouri State in an opening round WNIT game. Although the record-breaking performance did not come in the postseason Disterhoft and the rest of the Hawkeyes wanted to be in, it came in Iowa City, right in her own backyard yet again.

“I’m really proud of her,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said after that game. “To come here and accomplish something like that is amazing. I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”

Disterhoft didn’t just score during her four years, either. As common as her jab-middle-go-baseline move was on offense, her getting position in the paint and grabbing a rebound was just as common on the other end of the floor. Her 788 career rebounds rank 11th in school history. Her 313 assists rank 14th in school history, and her 162 3-pointers is good for seventh.

Following her senior season, Disterhoft was named a first-team All-Big Ten honoree for her work on the court. It was a huge honor for her, she said, but the real honor came when she was named Academic All-American of the Year — for the second year in a row.

See, to mention Ally Disterhoft the basketball player you have to mention Ally Disterhoft the student, because it almost seems impossible one person could succeed the way Disterhoft did balancing both.

When Disterhoft walks at graduation, she will do so in the arena where she broke the school’s all-time scoring record. Until that day, she will be studying to maintain her 4.03 GPA she has earned.

Disterhoft the business student will graduate on Saturday with a degree in finance and again in December with another degree in accounting.

The two Academic All-American of the Year awards stick out to her as much as any of the 2,102 points she scored.

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