IOWA CITY — Kathleen Doyle and Bella Alarie were teammates on Team USA’s Pan American team this summer.
They became friends.
“One of my closest friends on the team,” Doyle said. “I’m excited to see her.”
The two-time Ivy League player of the year, Alarie leads Princeton (4-0) into its women’s basketball game with Iowa (2-1); tipoff is 6:30 Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“Bella presents a matchup issue for us,” said Doyle, an Iowa senior. “Her length ... she’s 6-foot-4 and it seems like her wingspan is 8 feet. She deflects everything.”
Wednesday’s game is the Hawkeyes’ first since an 88-66 thumping at the hands of Northern Iowa on Sunday.
“There are so many things we’ve got to work on,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said Tuesday. “Basically, we have a lot of work to do.”
Much of it comes on the defensive end. The Hawkeyes have yielded 80-plus points in both of their last two games.
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“It’s a fundamental thing, and it’s about having heart,” Iowa’s Makenzie Meyer said. “We work on it in practice every single day. We’re excited to get out there Wednesday and show that we’ve worked on it.”
Princeton is the pride of the Ivy League. The Tigers have qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times since 2010.
“This is a really good program coming in,” Bluder said.
The main reason for Princeton’s appearance is a welcome-home for Carlie Littlefield, a junior guard from Waukee. Littlefield leads the Tigers at 17.3 points per game, and Alarie adds 14.3 per contest.
“They’ve got two really great players,” Meyer said. “(Sunday) was a tough one for us. We want to flush that game, but we want to take things from it too, and learn from it.
“The great thing about sports is that we have a chance to bounce right back.”
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