Iowa guard Alexis Sevillian dribbles the ball 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. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hawkeyes ready to clinch ‘State Title’

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With the injury to Tania Davis, there will be a lot of pressure on other players to perform.

By Sean Bock
sean-bock@uiowa.edu
In a season that has almost been perfect up to this point, the Iowa women’s basketball team faces some challenges as the season progresses.
The Hawkeyes lost one of their best players — more importantly, one of their go-to leaders in junior guard Tania Davis.
Davis tore the ACL in her left knee in the Dec. 17 win over Northern Iowa. Though her loss poses a threat to Iowa’s continued success, the Hawkeyes don’t seem to be too worried, and they believe they’ll find ways to win.
“Bad things happen to good people,” head coach Lisa Bluder said. “But it’s all about how we will respond. We’ve talked about grit all year, and part of that is resiliency.”
The first test will be on Dec. 21, when No. 25 Iowa (11-1) tries to go 3-0 against in-state opponents with Drake (5-6) standing in its way.
A victory would mean the Hawkeyes would be 12-1 going into conference play, which starts on Dec. 28 at Wisconsin.
Bluder’s Bunch will undoubtedly miss the services of Davis, but champions adjust, and this group has the grit and mentality to fight through adversity.
Redshirt freshman guard Alexis Sevillian will be promoted to the starting lineup. Her primary role this year was being the sixth player, but she started four games earlier this season when Kathleen Doyle was hurt.
Through the first 12 games of the season, Sevillian averages 11.3 points in 25.5 minutes per game. She has also been the Hawkeyes’ most prominent threat from 3, shooting at a 45 percent clip.
“It is an opportunity for people, and hopefully, they will take advantage of opportunities,” Bluder said. “I have complete faith in Lexi.”
Doyle will be main ball handler in the backcourt. She has a lot of experience at point guard, leading her high school, Benet Academy (Illinois), to two 4A state titles in her junior and senior seasons at the 1.
Makenzie Meyer will also be another guard who will see her minutes rise. The sophomore has started all 12 games this season while averaging 10.5 points and shooting a little under 40 percent from the 3-point line.
“All the guards have to help pick up [Davis’] role, and I have faith in all of us,” Sevillian said. “We’re having a great season; we did well when Tania went out against UNI. We stuck together, and I think we can do that for the remainder of the season.”
The Dec. 21 matchup with the Bulldogs will give a good indication of how fast this team can adjust to change.
Drake comes in scoring 84.5 points per game and has played one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country.
The Bulldogs upset the Hawkeyes last year in Des Moines, 81-76, and have a bunch of players who can knock down 3-pointers.
“It has been hard to shift to Drake, but we know we have to; this is an important game,” Bluder said. “It is important for us to win the state championship. Can we still do it without Tania? Yes. Will it be harder? Yes, it will be, but we’re willing to step up and accept that challenge.”

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