After a 16-point loss to Michigan State last week, Lisa Bluder decided to make a change to the Iowa women’s basketball team’s starting lineup.
The offense needed a spark, plus the Hawkeyes were headed to Ohio State, where Bluder and company hadn’t won in 10 tries.
Sophomore Kalli Peschel exited, and freshman Ally Disterhoft entered.
Disterhoft promptly posted a double-double in her first start, scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in Iowa’s 81-74 win Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
“We felt we needed more firepower in our starts, and Ally provided that for us and gave us an additional weapon to begin games with,” Bluder said at her weekly news conference Tuesday.
Disterhoft — who also went 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the victory — is averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In six Big Ten games, she is averaging 14.3 points.
The former West High standout had the same approach to success despite her new starting status.
“Nothing’s really changed,” Disterhoft said. “I’ve always gone in with the mindset that every game I’ll play aggressive, every practice just get after it.”
Bluder said that she expects the new lineup will remain the same, but it could change later depending on the opponent and matchup situations. The 14th-year coach also reiterated Peschel’s role, even with the sophomore now entering the hardwood off the bench.
The Hawkeyes will still need to rely on their eight-player rotation, especially as they enter the stretch run of Big Ten play soon.
“I think they all embraced (the lineup change) very well and adjusted to it,” Bluder said. “I had great concern for Kalli, because I need Kalli and I don’t want to lose her. Maybe she didn’t play as much against Ohio State, but she will be counted on throughout the year. We need her to come off the bench and play well.”
Disterhoft gave her team a needed boost as one of the starting five alongside Samantha Logic, Melissa Dixon, Theairra Taylor and Bethany Doolittle.
Just 20 games into her collegiate career, Disterhoft was able to temper her excitement with the help of those teammates and push Iowa to a rare win in Columbus. Now, it’s on to Indiana on Saturday and moving forward.
“You dream of playing in college, and you dream of starting,” she said. “That’s a goal you always have. You may not get it from the beginning, but it’s something you continue to work towards. I continued to work hard and earned my way in.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball