While the Hawkeye football team gets ready to go bowling for the second year in a row at the Insight Bowl (this year they take on Oklahoma and former Hawkeye Bobby Stoops) the basketball and wrestling teams have started their seasons.
I’ll start with the Iowa women who have a couple of impressive wins beating UNI in Cedar Falls and Virginia Tech in Carver Hawkeye Arena.
The freshmen have made a big impact, with Samantha Logic leading the way.
Samantha has started every game and is playing more like a two-year starter.
She is not afraid to take it inside, is one of the better defenders and has shown the ability to throw some great passes to set up her teammates.
Samantha is averaging nine points per game, leads the team in rebounding with 47 and is second is steals with 14.
Bethany Doolittle has stepped up her game and is giving Morgan Johnson some rest at the post position. She has done a good job of posting up and leads the team in field goals, shooting 52 percent from the floor.
Melissa Dixon has provided some defense and good outside shooting playing in every game. She leads Iowa in 3-point shooting (50 percent).
Kathryn Reynolds has been a pleasant surprise playing at point guard. She has gotten more minutes because Trisha Nesbitt has been out with an injury.
Virginia Johnson started out playing the power forward, but has been playing center lately. She might be the best athlete on the team but is still getting used to playing center.
Kamille Wahlin is leading the way at point. The 5-9 senior hasn’t put up her normal numbers yet, but is clutch in free throw shooting down the stretch and is third in assists with 23.
Jaime Printy has had a great start scoring 25 and 24 points in the first two games. She leads the team with 30 assists, 15 steals and is averaging 18 points per game.
Kelly Krei has also had a good start. The 6-1 senior from City High has shot 90 percent from the free throw line to lead the Hawks.
Keeping Morgan Johnson healthy and out of foul trouble could be one of the keys to a successful season. She has tendonitis in her knees and sometimes picks up early fouls but when her inside game is on, the Hawkeyes are tough to stop. Morgan is averaging 12.9 points, leads the team with 19 blocks and is second in rebounds with 43.
I really like the way Kalli Hansen and Theairra Taylor have been coming off the bench and providing the Hawks a spark.
Kali hadn’t scored a lot until she put up 11 against Kansas State, but is capable of hitting threes and posting up.
Theairra is one of the quickest players on the floor and does a good job on defense.
The Hawkeye men have been up and down so far this year.
The talent is better and the bench is deeper, but it looks to me like Iowa is lacking a leader.
When things are going well, like in their three blowouts, all is good, but when they are getting blown out, no one has stepped up to get the team back together.
Usually you’d like to see your seniors take the leadership role, but Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright aren’t that kind of vocal players.
Matt is the only Hawkeye scoring in double figures with a 14.8 average. He also leads the team in free throw percentage (.914) and steals (13). Bryce leads the team in assists with 34.
Zach McCabe has started the last three games and shows some inside toughness. He has 37 rebounds and 12 steals so far.
True freshman Aaron White comes off the bench and leads the team in rebounds with 40.
Melsahn Basabe has struggled with consistency and finally broke out with a double-double in last Saturday’s win against Brown.
Eric May is also struggling with his offense, and needs to work on his outside shot.
Devyn Marble is the most versatile Hawk coming off the bench, playing the point and shooting guard. He is second in assists with 23 and also second in steals with 12.
Josh Oglesby comes off the bench and is an instant three-point threat, tying Matt with 14 three-pointers.
Andrew Brommer and Devon Archie have both been hurt on and off. The Hawks will need them at full strength when the Big Ten season starts.
The wrestlers won two matches over the weekend, beating Illinois and Iowa State.
Last Friday at Carver, the Hawks knocked off Illinois, 20-13, but it was tough to see Matt McDonough (125) get beat after leading 6-2. It’s early in the season and Matt will bounce back.
How about Tony Ramos (133) and Ethen Lofthouse (174)?
Both went up against wrestlers ranked in the top three. Ethan jumped out to a 3-0 lead and rolled to a 6-1 win. Tony started strong and dominated B.J. Futrell winning a major decision, 13-5.
Montell Marion also won a major at 141, 11-2.
“We were in a battle tonight and we saw some not-so-good things,” said head coach Tom Brands. “We have to get on the offense and not let guys slow us down.”
On Sunday, the Hawkeyes traveled to Ames and dominated the ‘Clones, 27-9.
It was good to see Matt McDonough bounce back with a 6-0 win. Iowa won the first five matches, highlighted by Tony Ramos getting a pin at 133.
Tony just keeps attacking and is becoming a fan favorite.
Former West High Trojan Derek St. John also got a pin at 157, as Iowa won seven of 10 matches.
“We’ve got work to do,” said coach Brands. “We know that when we wrestle we have to be ready to go. There are still a couple of weights we have to get going.”
Iowa is ranked No. 1 in the nation and has won eight straight over the Cyclones.