Frontcourt shines in Iowa women’s hoops opener

The Iowa women’s frontcourt took care of business in an exhibition win over Minnesota State-Moorehead.

Iowa+forward+Chase+Coley+takes+a+shot+inside+the+lane+during+the+womens+basketball+game+between+Iowa+and+Minnesota+State+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Sunday%2C+Nov.+5%2C+2017.+The+Hawkeyes+beat+the+Dragons%2C+85-56.+%28Ben+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben S

Iowa forward Chase Coley takes a shot inside the lane during the women’s basketball game between Iowa and Minnesota State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. The Hawkeyes beat the Dragons, 85-56. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Sean Bock, [email protected]

Chase Coley started 31 games as a sophomore.

In her junior year, she only started two games, a trend that doesn’t seem to add up.

But in the Hawkeyes’ exhibition win over Minnesota State-Moorehead on Sunday, the 6-3 Coley was in the starting lineup and demonstrated why she should continue in that role.

Coley, a senior, finished the exhibition game with 8 points and 10 rebounds with 6 of her boards being offensive.

“I have been on Chase about her rebounding, so I’m really pleased,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I did mention to her, now that we see what you’re capable of doing, we will expect it every game. She set the bar.”

Coley scored the first 4 points of the game, which got the Iowa crowd alive early.

Despite not starting last season, Coley’s not worried about being in the first rotation.

“It’s just fun being out there,” she said. “Doesn’t matter to me if I start or not, it’s just fun playing out there with this group.”

Coley’s presence down low for Iowa is enormous, considering opposing defenses will have to decide whether to key in on her or standout Megan Gustafson.

Gustafson had herself a night as well, pouring in 22 points and shooting an efficient 10-of-14 from the field in 25 minutes.

The junior also had 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.

With the bench depth being so thin, the Hawkeyes are going to need players in the second unit to contribute and provide vital rest for the starters.

Hannah Stewart and Amanda Ollinger were able to supply a much-needed boost off the bench on Sunday night.

Stewart had 8 points and 4 rebounds in 14 minutes of action, and Ollinger had 4 points and 10 rebounds, tying a game-high with Coley.

“Being able to depend on my teammates to score is great,” Gustafson said. “Sometimes, I’m getting doubled, then I’m looking down to our forwards like Chase. So being able to depend on my teammates like that is amazing to have, and [I] really loved what I saw from everyone. Seeing everyone get some confidence was great.”

A frontcourt that consists of players who can contribute on a nightly basis is essential, especially with a challenging nonconference and conference schedule as the Hawkeyes have.

With the three-guard lineup Bluder expects to use for the season, Iowa won’t necessarily have the tallest lineup, so the frontcourt will be relied on to put the ball in the bucket and snatch up every rebound possible.

An area in which Iowa excelled in Sunday night was on the offensive glass. The Hawkeyes grabbed 16 O-rebounds, which made up for a third of their 48 boards.

“Rebounds are extra possessions,” Bluder said. “They are such an important stat. They’re one of the first stats I look at. Overall, I’m very pleased with our effort in that department.”

Facebook Comments