I know they were only exhibition games, but the Iowa men’s and women’s basketball teams put on a great show Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
There has been a lot of hype about the men’s basketball team coming into the season. With a top-rated recruiting class and a good returning nucleus, there’s a lot of hope for a good season.
I know that not one Quincy player could probably start for a Big Ten team but when the Hawks jumped out to a 22-0 lead and cruised to a 100-54 win the fans were buzzing.
Fran McCaffery, Iowa’s head coach, has been wanting to press, run and gun since he’s been here.
Fran now has the firepower to do just that.
When Iowa opened the game with the one-two-two full court press with Aaron White on the point, it reminded me of Brad Lohaus, Chris Street or Jess Settles guarding the inbound pass.
The Hawks forced 31 turnovers and had 19 steals… not a bad way to start the season.
The key to Iowa’s success this year will be its depth.
The starters included two freshmen; point guard Mike Gesell (18 points, three assists and two steals) and center Adam Woodbury (four points, six rebounds and two assists), and three juniors; Aaron White (nine points, three blocks and two steals), Zach McCabe (seven points, eight rebounds and two assists) and Devyn Marble (six points and two rebounds)
The next five has Eric May and Josh Oglesby, both scoring 15 with seven steals combined, Melsahn Basabe with 10 points, Gabe Olaseni and Anthony Clemmons chip in six and five respectively.
That gives Fran the flexibility to keep everyone fresh and to press as much as he wants to.
So far, so good.
Iowa women down Quincy 86-51
As for the women, I talked to Shannon Gage, Hawkeye assistant coach, and she said the team is the healthiest it’s been for a season opener in a long time… except for Jaime Printy being out with a hamstring injury.
Melissa Dixon, who went in for Jaime last season when she was hurt, was in a zone Sunday and unofficially broke the Carver-Hawkeye record with seven 3-pointers.
It’s unofficial because it was an exhibition game, but it shows Melissa is ready to go again.
“We have so much confidence with Melissa shooting the ball,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder. “It’s never something we hesitate with.”
This is also the first time in a few years that the Hawks don’t have to rely on a freshman coming in to start.
Of course, a couple of those freshmen were Jaime Printy and Samantha Logic, so that’s not too bad of a situation.
Samantha, who is now a sophomore, has stepped up her game and looks stronger and in more control. She had 13 points, seven assists and five steals but the stat that makes Lisa Bluder happy is only one turnover.
Theairra Taylor got her first start since she was a freshman, was 3-3 from the floor, had three assists and three steals.
“I am thrilled to have Theairra back in the lineup,” said coach Bluder. “She’s improved so much.”
The coach also believes, when Jaime gets healthy, that the Hawks can go at least 10 deep.
Morgan Johnson and Bethany Doolittle are the other starters with Trisha Nesbitt, Kali Peschel, Kathy Thomas, Claire Till and Kayla Timmerman competing for playing time.