Next guard in for Iowa: Alexis Sevillian will replace injured Tania Davis

Women's basketball: Just like that, Iowa's backcourt is thin

Iowa guard Alexis Sevillian (5) passes the ball against Florida State. Sevillian will move to the starting lineup after teammate and roommate Tania Davis suffered a season-ending injury. The Hawkeyes host Drake on Thursday. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa guard Alexis Sevillian (5) passes the ball against Florida State. Sevillian will move to the starting lineup after teammate and roommate Tania Davis suffered a season-ending injury. The Hawkeyes host Drake on Thursday. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — So, what now? Where will Tania Davis’ minutes go? Who will claim her role as gritty leader?

Those were the topics at Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder’s press conference Tuesday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

This is certain — this stings the 25th-ranked Hawkeyes (11-1).

“It’s tough. It’s a huge blow to our team,” Megan Gustafson said. “We’re trying to stay optimistic.”

Davis suffered an injury to her left knee in the second quarter of Iowa’s 71-47 win at UNI on Sunday. Preliminary indications were that it was minor.

But word came down Monday that Davis — a junior point guard — suffered a torn ACL and medial meniscus. Like last year, when she tore her other ACL, her season ends prematurely.

“This is a big downer. It’s not what we suspected,” Bluder said. “This should be a time we should be pretty darn excited. We’re 11-1. It’s Christmas. Finals are done. We’re in the top 25.”

Instead, surgery and another long road of rehabilitation awaits Davis. And the Hawkeyes trudge on without her; they host Drake (5-6) at 7 p.m. Thursday, then open Big Ten play a week later at Wisconsin.

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“We’re going to keep pushing through and we’re going to be resilient,” sophomore captain Kathleen Doyle said. “I’m just bummed for Tania. I feel terrible for her.”

In 12 games, Davis averaged 9.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. She was a 41.2-percent shooter from 3-point range.

“She’s extremely upset,” Bluder said of Davis. “Tania loves the game of basketball. She watches it all the time. It’s part of her life. It’s who she is.”

Davis averaged 28.9 minutes per game, and reshuffling those minutes to a suddenly thin backcourt will be tricky.

Redshirt freshman Alexis Sevillian will take Davis’ place in the starting lineup. That’s for sure. Davis’ high school teammate and current roommate, Sevillian is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game.

“It’s a bigger role to fill,” Sevillian said. “Our strength and conditioning coach will have me — all of us — ready.”

Sevillian and Doyle will share time at the point and wing positions, and Makenzie Meyer is entrenched at the other wing. They might all see 35-37 minutes per game.

Next on the depth chart in the backcourt is Amanda Ollinger, a sophomore who prepped at Linn-Mar, followed by freshman walk-on Zion Sanders.

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“Amanda’s going to have to pick up some minutes. She’s going to have to respond,” Bluder said. “And maybe Zion will see some minutes here and there.”

Ollinger is averaging 3.2 points per game. Sanders has played 27 minutes in mop-up time this season.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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