Trisha Nesbitt has been working tirelessly in the long shadows cast by fellow seniors Morgan Johnson and Jaime Printy.
But the Ames native has found a way to make an impact behind the scenes.
“She’s really playing her best basketball but still in that role-player role,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “And that’s difficult. That’s one of the most difficult positions to be in.
“She has embraced being a senior captain on our team. And our team really looks up to her. I think she probably has the most say of all three captains on our team.”
Nesbitt, who is dealing with basketball, classes, plus the upcoming June 15 wedding to former Iowa men’s basketball player Jarryd Cole, still finds time to mentor the younger plays on the team.
“A lot of freshmen come to me for a lot of things,” Nesbitt said. “I try to lead them in whatever way I can. If that’s giving them rides places or taking them out if they are down. They are all like my best friends. I couldn’t ask to be on a better team.”
That team plays its final regular-season home game tonight against Indiana (11-16, 2-12). It is a must-win for Iowa (17-11, 6-8) if it wants to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes strong.
The Hawkeyes close the regular season Sunday at Northwestern (13-14, 5-9).
“Two very important games for us,” Bluder said. “It’s an opportunity for us to go .500 in our conference; an opportunity to get 19 wins, which I think would be really, really big for us in postseason play.”
Indiana upset then-No. 22 Purdue 62-61 on Feb. 20, to stop a 10-game losing streak.
Indiana senior guard Jasmine McGhee has scored 51 points in the last two games, shooting 63.6 percent.
“We know there’s some pressure on us, but at the same time, we can handle that pressure,” Printy said. “Indiana is better than their record shows, that’s for sure. They’ve been in a lot of games this year.
“We have to be ready to go.”
Printy, who has been a Hawkeye for almost eight years after giving her verbal commitment as a freshman at Linn-Mar, knows her days as a Hawkeye are numbered.
“I’m trying not to focus on the end,” Printy said. “I’m trying to enjoy every second. It’s coming to an end whether we like it or not.”
Printy will graduate as one of the top scorers in Hawkeye history. She is fourth in career scoring with 1,781 points, and second in career 3-pointers (246). She also is fifth in career assists (393).
Six-foot-6 post Morgan Johnson is ninth on the career scoring list (1,507 points), sixth in rebounding (838) and first in blocked shots (280). She has started 123 games, the most in school history.
Nesbitt’s resume isn’t as packed. The 5-7 guard played in 34 games as a freshman but had a reduced role the next two years because of injuries.
“It was definitely hard,” Nesbitt said. “Being hurt, you feel a bit separated from the whole group. But I have such a great team and a great set of coaches; they really supported me.”
Finally healthy again, Nesbitt has resumed her role as a role player, which has made her role as captain more important.
“Tricia has been unbelievable in that role,” Bluder said. “Freshmen come in, there is natural awe of Jaime and Morgan because of what they’ve done on the court. So (Trisha’s) had to work harder to gain their respect.
“But I think you ask any one of them, and they’ll tell you how much respect they have for Trisha. She works hard every single day. And she’s a great example of continuing to work hard even when you don’t get the rewards.
“Tricia has been a fabulous role model. She’s leaving here with a fiancé, so maybe she’s benefited the most from being here.”
Nesbitt said she owes her family a lot for keeping her wedding planning stress to a minimum during basketball season.
“When basketball is over, then it will be more of a crunch time to get things done,” Nesbitt said. “Now it’s kind of a fun thing.”
Bluder said the program has gotten used to Cole being a fixture around the program. He even helped with their camp last summer.
There is another big date the Hawkeyes want to prepare for. That’s the NCAA Tournament first round game March 24 in Iowa City.
“We have the blessing to be able to play at home,” Nesbitt said. “For the seniors, it’s our last year, and we want to make the most of it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball