Iowa Women's Basketball

Kathleen Doyle's focus shifts toward WNBA Draft

An extra season at Iowa, for Doyle and Makenzie Meyer, 'was a fun thing to think about' for a while

Iowa's Kathleen Doyle (22) celebrates with Makenzie Meyer (3) during the 2019 NCAA women's basketball tournament. With M
Iowa's Kathleen Doyle (22) celebrates with Makenzie Meyer (3) during the 2019 NCAA women's basketball tournament. With Monday's news that the NCAA will not give winter-sports college athletes an extra year of eligibilty, Doyle's focus shifts to the WNBA Draft. Meyer will apply to dental school in June. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Kathleen Doyle’s residence of isolation is her Iowa City apartment.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena is closed.

So what was she doing Monday afternoon?

“Crafts, mostly,” said the 2019-20 Big Ten women’s basketball player of the year. “I’m staying busy with random things. I love to draw. I’m customizing shoes.”

Even before the NCAA ruled Monday that it will not grant an additional year of eligibility to winter-sport athletes (spring athletes do receive an extra year), Doyle had come to grips that her basketball career at the University of Iowa had come to an end.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” she said. “I love college basketball, and coming back was a fun thing to think about. But I didn’t think it was going to happen.”

So the book is officially closed on the collegiate careers of Doyle, Makenzie Meyer and Amanda Ollinger, a senior class that won 96 games — the most of any class during Lisa Bluder’s 20-year coaching career at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes finished 23-7, surpassing the expectations of all. But it ended abruptly with the spread of COVID-19, which ultimately shut down the NCAA tournament.

“We were in the middle of practice (March 12),” Makenzie Meyer said. “Coach called timeout, told us the news and ended practice.

“It was very strange.”

Doyle said, “We were having a good practice, too. I just started crying. It was terrible.

“When we got beat (by Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament), it was bad, but we figured we still had more games to play, but when the news came about the NCAA, it just ripped my heart apart. I understand why it happened, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.”

After graduation, Ollinger has a job lined up at Collins Aerospace. Meyer will apply for dental school in June and will be taking “a couple of undergrad classes” at Iowa this fall.

“If I had the opportunity, I definitely would have been interested” in another season, Meyer said.

As for Doyle, a third-team Associated Press All-American?

“I’m focused on the WNBA Draft now,” she said. “I just want to keep playing basketball, and I want to play in the WNBA.”

The draft is scheduled for April 17. Due to the pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing practices, it will be held virtually, with no ballroom, no players and no media.

It will be televised on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.

According to Draftsite.com, Doyle is projected as a second-round selection — the 16th overall pick, by the Minnesota Lynx.

BB Index has Doyle going as the 22nd pick, to the Los Angeles Sparks:

“Kathleen Doyle played her way up as one of the top point guards in the country and (there’s a) strong likelihood she goes earlier in the draft,” BB Index said. “(She) brings a solid option and competition for the point-guard spot in training camp.

“She’s tough, knows how to distribute and score. Her numbers have improved steadily every year, especially in her senior campaign. She is as solid and well-rounded point guard as any in this draft. A steal for L.A. this late in the game.”

With Carver on lockdown, Doyle focuses on ball-handling drills in her apartment.

She works on her crafts. And she reflects.

“I have no regrets,” she said. “That helps me sleep at night.”

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

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