NORTH LIBERTY Ally Disterhoft had at least three obvious goals heading into the Game Time League this summer.
She wanted to stay healthy, improve as a player and lead her team to the title.
Disterhoft accomplished all three goals Wednesday.
She scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead McCurry’s/Culver’s to an 81-58 victory over Westport Touchless Autowash/Monica’s/Bob’s Your Uncle in the GTL title game at the North Liberty Community Center.
Disterhoft also led her team to an undefeated season and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
“We come out here every night and just try to play competitive,” Disterhoft said. “It was a really fun summer. We had a great team. It was just fun to come out here and play with these girls every night.
“And it’s always nice to go undefeated.”
Disterhoft spent much of Wednesday’s game matched against former Northern Iowa star guard Jacqui Kalin, who led her team with 31 points. And though it was only a summer game, both players took it seriously.
“I have so much respect for Ally Disterhoft,” Kalin said. “She is a phenomenal player. She’s young. She’s tough to guard.
“I was kind of laughing with her at the end of the game because I’m so competitive. And she’s a young player and she’s so talented. And she even got me going a little bit. I kind of gave her a hard foul and then I’m kind of like, ‘Come on, keep her healthy for the season.’<TH>”
Kalin sparked a comeback that saw her team creep to within 64-52. But then Disterhoft answered with five consecutive points, including one of her four 3-point baskets, expanding the lead back to 69-52 with 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
Kalin’s team ultimately didn’t have enough firepower without Iowa guard Melissa Dixon in the lineup. Dixon was withheld from Wednesday’s game as a precautionary measure because of what was described as a minor foot injury.
Kalin did all she could on offense to compensate for Dixon’s absence.
“She is a tremendous player, obviously, and has a ton of experience under her belt,” Disterhoft said of Kalin. “You want to go against the best whenever you play and she is definitely one of them.”
Disterhoft, who graduated from West High in 2013, had a smooth transition to the college game, making the Big Ten all-freshman team. She scored 474 points, which is the second most in school history by a Hawkeye freshman. She also grabbed 229 rebounds, which is the third highest total for an Iowa freshman.
And she helped Iowa finish 27-9 overall while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Kalin praised the 6-foot Disterhoft for her versatility and for knowing how to use her size and length to her advantage. Disterhoft had a least a 4-inch height advantage against Kalin.
“I don’t know whether to call her a guard or a post because she does it all,” Kalin said. “And I think that’s what makes her so good. She can shoot the 3. She can get to the rim, she can post up, she can take you off the drive, and that’s pretty much explaining every position in basketball.
“And the fact that she uses her height to her advantage but can also play like a guard, she’s such a well-rounded player. She’s a difference maker on any team. And that’s why she is so tough.”
In addition to winning a GTL title and finishing undefeated, Disterhoft also had the opportunity to play on the same team with 6-3 incoming Iowa freshman Chase Coley this summer.
“I think playing with her this summer has helped a lot, just figuring out her tendencies on the court so I can read her a little bit better,” Disterhoft said of Coley, who finished with eight points, 13 rebounds and multiple blocks during Wednesday’s victory. “It’s just nice, especially getting to play with one of the freshmen over the summer and getting to know each other better.”
Coley, a native of Minneapolis, was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Minnesota as a senior. She has enjoyed getting better acquainted with Disterhoft on and off the court.
“It was really fun playing with Ally,” Coley said. “I think we really built some chemistry and that will help. Now I just need to build the chemistry with the rest of the Hawks.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball