IOWA CITY — Chase Coley’s legacy? That’s easy.
She’s had a blast.
“She’s the funniest person I know,” teammate Megan Gustafson said. “She’s light-hearted, always dancing and singing. You’re going to have ups and downs throughout a season, and she makes them both better.”
Coley and Carly Mohns will make their Carver-Hawkeye Arena exits Saturday, when Iowa (22-6 overall, 10-5 Big Ten) hosts Indiana (16-12, 9-6) in a matchup of the league’s two hottest women’s basketball teams.
Tipoff is 11 a.m.
“I’m excited for another game, but I’m sad it’s going to be my last at Carver,” said Coley, a native of Minneapolis.
Externally, Coley is recognizable on game days with her dyed hair (blonde most of the season, gray now) and her shorts (the bottoms of which are tucked into her compression shorts underneath).
“I did it a couple times in practice in high school,” she said. “It’s comfortable. I thought, ‘Can I do this in a game?’ Then Hannah (Stewart) started doing it too.
“It’s comfortable, and I know it bugs (assistant coach Jenni Fitzgerald).”
Coley also can mimic each of her teammates’ shots. But there’s substance to go with her style, too.
After a puzzling junior season (4.0 points per game after averaging 11.1 as a sophomore), Coley has bounced back this season with a 9.2-point scoring rate this winter. That included a 20-point outing the last time out in an overtime win at Rutgers.
And it also featured, arguably, the Hawkeyes’ most important shot of the season.
With the Hawkeyes floundering at 4-5 in the Big Ten and trailing by a point at Michigan State on Feb. 1, Coley drained a baseline shot; it turned out to be the game-winner. That sparked Iowa’s current six-game winning streak.
“Certainly the biggest shot of Chase’s career,” Bluder said. “It’s a shot she loves, a shot she believes in.”
Coley said she got her “loud personality, goofy and wacky” from her father, Tylor Coley.
“He’s good at having fun,” she said. “That’s just him being him, and that’s how my mom encouraged me to be.”
Coley’s mother, Kelli Jo Berhens-Coley, died when Chase was a high-school freshman. But Tylor is a fixture at almost all Iowa home games, and some of the road contests, as is his fiancee, Keilly Olsen, and Chase’s siblings, Kendall (15), Khaysen (4) and Cade (2).
“They’re late to everything,” Chase said. “They usually get there right at tipoff, and I can usually hear my little brother yelling from above the tunnel.”
“Basketball has held us together through some tough times.”
Coley and Mohns represent half of Iowa’s recruiting class of 2014. Whitney Jennings transferred after her sophomore season, and Christina Buttenham departed after last season.
Mohns, who has been slowed by multiple knee injuries, has another year of eligibility remaining, but has decided against using it.
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“Injuries kept her down,” Bluder said of Mohns. "She’s a picture of courage and perseverance. She’s given so much, but hasn’t gotten a lot in return.”
Indiana has won eight consecutive games after a 1-6 Big Ten start and is led by Tyra Buss at 21.1 points per game.
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