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No sugarcoating from Ally Disterhoft: Last season still eats at her

Women's basketball: Early WNIT exit still grates on Iowa star

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NORTH LIBERTY — Four months have passed since the Iowa Hawkeyes exited the WNIT with a whimper.

It still eats at Ally Disterhoft.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” she said. “Last season was a disappointment. We’ve just got to take it as a learning experience.”

And what was learned?

“Team chemistry goes a long way,” she said.

A cycle of “lasts” has begun for Disterhoft, a senior-to-be at Iowa. Wednesday night, it was the last Game Time League game. Disterhoft struggled with her shooting; she was 9-for-33 from the field in a 24-point outing, but her team assembled a 13-0 fourth-quarter run in a 59-47 victory at the North Liberty Community Center.

She would have been excused for skipping Wednesday’s game. Her younger brother, Nate, was playing for Iowa City West in the Trojans’ state-quarterfinal win at the state baseball tournament.

“I was tempted, but I had a commitment to the Game Time League,” Disterhoft said. “(West) won, so I can go out there and be his biggest fan on Friday.”

A former Miss Iowa Basketball, Disterhoft has had a prolific career with the Hawkeyes. With a season to play, the 6-foot guard ranks 11th on the career scoring chart with 1,542 points. She needs 518 to surpass Cindy Haugejorde (1976-80) at the top of the list.

Again, Disterhoft won’t sugarcoat it. The scoring record has crossed her mind.

“The back of my mind, yes,” she said. “If I get there, it would be a terrific honor. But what I want to do is win. If the record comes, great, but I want to win.”

That’s all she has known. West won a state championship when Disterhoft was a junior, in 2012. The Hawkeyes reached the NCAA tournament in her first two seasons (including a Sweet 16 when she was a sophomore), then a number of blown leads in Big Ten play was the Hawkeyes’ undoing last winter. Iowa finished 19-14, including a first-round loss to Ball State in the WNIT.

It is Disterhoft’s time now to provide more than points. It is time to lead. Her first order of business was to point the freshmen to the gym this summer.

“This is our time now,” she said, referring to the seniors. “We’ve put in the work, and we know what it’s like to win.”

Disterhoft went head-to-head with former Linn-Mar standout Amanda Ollinger throughout Wednesday’s game.

“She’s a good player,” Disterhoft said. “She’s crafty. she’s got some good moves and she’s physical. Our freshmen have a lot of potential. They’re receptive to learning and improving.”

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

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