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New shoes, new spark

[ 0 ] January 6, 2011 |

It likely was an interesting sight Wednesday morning — three Iowa players making a mad dash into the Mall of America for new basketball shoes.

But a few hours later, those same Hawkeyes helped put together a vital 63-57 victory over Minnesota to avoid falling 0-3 in the Big Ten.

“I told Kamille after the game, I don’t know if the shoes helped or not, but I’m going to believe it did,” senior Kachine Alexander said. “It’s the shoes.”

“That’s what we said after the game, it’s got to be the shoes,” junior Kamille Wahlin said.

Most of the current Hawkeyes were likely still in diapers when Spike Lee made that famous ad with Michael Jordan back in 1991, but for a Hawkeye team in need of a spark, why not footwear?

“Sometimes when nothing is going good … new shoes, new confidence,” Wahlin said. “It’s a fun thing that happened, and they are very comfortable.”

Wahlin, who was shooting just 4-of-21 in Big Ten play going into Wednesday’s game, hit five baskets, including a couple clutch shots in the second half.

Alexander had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. She started the shoe revolution by buying a pair of the Nike Hyperfuse shoes during a Tuesday evening team trip to the Mall of America.

“I’ve been wanting these shoes for a long time,” Alexander said. “I got them Tuesday, showed Kamille, they were trying them on, and she was like, ‘Oh, these are great!’”

So Wednesday morning, the day of the game, Wahlin started calling around to find a pair near their hotel. She couldn’t find them, so they decided to race back to the Mall of America.

“We left the hotel at 10:50 and shoot around was at 11:50,” Alexander said. “We were in and out of the mall in 10 minutes.”

It helped that Kachine is from Minneapolis and knew how to navigate the massive Mall of America and its acres of parking.

“She knows her way around that mall really well,” Wahlin said. “I got a pair; Trish (Nesbitt) got a pair. It’s something to remember. And its kind of fun to get new basketball shoes.”

Alexander said now other Hawkeyes are interested in the shoes, and she planned to get a pair of the white ones for Saturday when No. 20 Ohio State comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“They are probably the best shoes I’ve had in my entire life, I’m not going to lie,” Alexander said. “They are amazing, great, and we all love them.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball

About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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