Point-counterpoint: Which Hawkeye will complement Megan Gustafson the best?

The Daily Iowan’s Pete Ruden and Jordan Zuniga debate who will step up in Megan Gustafson’s presence.

October 29, 2018

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Lily Smith

Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle drives to the hoop during the Iowa/Creighton NCAA tournament first round basketball game at Pauley Pavilion on UCLA's campus in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 17, 2018. The Bluejays defeated the Hawkeyes, 76-70.

Kathleen Doyle

Megan Gustafson will be one of the best college basketball players this year. There’s no question about that.

But if the Hawkeyes are going to make the giant leap to be contenders come March, they’re going to need junior point guard Kathleen Doyle to take one small step this year.

She’s been named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team this year and is coming off a solid sophomore campaign.

Last season, she put up 11.1 points per game and 6.6 assists per game to go along with 3.7 rebounds per game. All those numbers were significant steps up from Doyle’s freshman year.

One area that Iowa will need to see improvement from in Doyle this season is her 3-point shooting.

She managed to shoot 34.7 percent from deep last season, which is a respectable number and a considerable step up from the 23.4 percent her freshman year on the same number of shots.

However, there were games last season where Doyle struggled to make 3s; she was often a streaky shooter.

Lisa Bluder and Company will need her to be a consistent 3-point threat all year long in order to take some of the pressure off Gustafson.

Gustafson was often put up against double and triple teams in the paint, and much of that was because of Iowa’s inconsistency behind the 3-point arc.

This season, Doyle should be more dangerous behind the 3-point line, which will help make more room for Gustafson in the paint this year.

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Lily Smith

Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer looks to the hoop during the Iowa/Arkansas-Pine Bluff basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Lions, 85-45.

Makenzie Meyer

Makenzie Meyer will play a big role for the Hawkeyes this year.

While she was not named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team like forward Megan Gustafson or guard Kathleen Doyle, there is no denying her ability to fill up the bucket from beyond the arc.

Meyer shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range last year, leading the team out of players with at least 55 attempts from deep.

While defenses are focusing on Gustafson’s dominance in the paint, she will have the chance to kick it out to a hot shooter on the wing.

After averaging 27.5 points, on 67.1 percent shooting, and grabbing 123 offensive boards during the 2017-18 season, teams will have no choice but to put more bodies on Gustafson in the paint. She’s just too dominant to leave one-on-one.

Someone will benefit from being left open. Meyer is the perfect candidate for Iowa to shoot open 3s, if the team can get her the ball.

It could be the team as a whole benefiting from Gustafson being covered, but that could also come back to Meyer.

Meyer logged the fourth-most minutes out of returning players, meaning she will be on the floor when Gustafson is.

Just as Jordan Bohannon benefits from Tyler Cook’s presence on the men’s side, Meyer will get buckets if given the ball, thanks to the increased attention on Gustafson.

No matter who will complement Gustafson the best, one thing is for sure: Gustafson will still have a heck of a season, and we are only about a week away from watching it.

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