IOWA CITY, Ia. – A national television audience caught a glimpse of Bethany Doolittle’s potential.
The Iowa women’s basketball team ended its season Tuesday with a 74-57 loss to Notre Dame, on ESPN2, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was the final Carver-Hawkeye Arena appearance for seniors Morgan Johnson, Jaime Printy and Trisha Nesbitt, but Doolittle provided optimism for the future.
“Bethany played really well for us,” coach Lisa Bluder said. “I think she showed signs of what she can do on a consistent basis.”
The 6-foot-4 sophomore led the Hawkeyes with 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Her ability to hit mid-range jumpers kept ninth-seeded Iowa in contention against top-seed Notre Dame, especially in the first half.
“She’s had these sporadic performances,” Bluder said, “but we need consistent play out of Bethany.
“Hopefully, we’ll get that out of her this summer and next year, because I think she’s got a lot of ability.”
Doolittle averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds, while serving as a secondary post option behind Johnson.
The duo helped Iowa finish 21-13 and earn its sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid. But the Hawkeyes were no match for Notre Dame.
“They’re just a really good team,” Doolittle said. “We were looking to stop their runs… some of the time, we couldn’t do that as well we should have.”
Johnson ended her career as Iowa’s all-time shot blocker, with 293, and is fourth in rebounds, with 886.
Her 1,582 points rank ninth in Hawkeye history.
Printy exits as the school’s third-leading scorer, with 1,841 points, and is second with 252 made 3-pointers.
Her 412 assists place Printy fifth on Iowa’s all-time list.
“I told Jaime not to cry,” Bluder said after Tuesday’s defeat. “I just feel appreciative of everything they’ve done for us the last four years.”
The Hawkeyes will return three talented guards, Samantha Logic, Theairra Taylor and Melissa Dixon.
Logic validated her status as one of the Big Ten Conference’s elite floor leaders, averaging 9.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
“I think we have a good core coming back,” Logic said. “Obviously, losing our three seniors is a huge hit to us, but I think we really have some good people to come back and build off of.”
Dixon contributed 10.1 points per game as a reserve, hitting 39.8 percent of her 3-point attempts.
If Doolittle continues to develop, the Hawkeyes will have inside-outside balance.
RECAPPING IOWA’S 2012-13 SEASON
Who’s Leaving: Morgan Johnson, Jaime Printy and Trisha Nesbitt were part of 82 wins in their careers.
Who’s Back: Samantha Logic is a premier point guard. Melissa Dixon is a talented shooter. Theairra Taylor can do both. Bethany Doolittle will take on more duties in the post.
High Point: The Hawkeyes beat seven ranked opponents this season, but a 69-53 win over Miami in the NCAA Tournament provided a postseason boost.
Low Point: A five game losing streak, including a 67-65 home loss to Northwestern, put Iowa’s NCAA hopes in jeopardy.
Could Have Used: A greater rebounding average. The Hawkeyes averaged 38.4 boards, while opponents grabbed 37.9.
MVP: Logic was the most steady performer. “She’s the key to their team,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “She runs the team.”
Optimism for 2013-14: Logic will keep the Hawkeyes in almost any game, and Dixon can stretch defenses. Doolittle fills a void in the paint.
Category — Seniors — Others
Points — 41.8 — 58.2
Rebounds — 31.2 — 68.8
Assists — 28.7 — 71.3
Steals — 30.6 — 69.4
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball