Iowa Women's Basketball

What Lisa Bluder's winningest Iowa senior class says about each other, and their legacy

Big Ten POY candidate Kathleen Doyle, Makenzie Meyer and Amanda Ollinger have compiled a 4-year mark of 95-35

Kathleen Doyle (right) celebrates a buzzer shot by Makenzie Meyer (3) against Missouri in the second round of the MCAA w
Kathleen Doyle (right) celebrates a buzzer shot by Makenzie Meyer (3) against Missouri in the second round of the MCAA women's basketball tournament last season. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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IOWA CITY — With 95 victories in the past four seasons, they are the winningest women’s basketball senior class of the Lisa Bluder era.

“It’s been everything I could have asked for in a college basketball experience,” Kathleen Doyle said.

Doyle, along with Makenzie Meyer and Amanda Ollinger, will play their final regular-season game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, when 18th-ranked Iowa (22-5 overall, 13-3 Big Ten) hosts Minnesota (15-12, 5-11).

Tipoff is 6:30 p.m.

The Hawkeyes are pretty much wedged in third place in the Big Ten, barring an extremely unlikely combination of Northwestern losing at home to Illinois on Saturday and Maryland falling at Minnesota on Sunday.

So let’s step aside and let the seniors have the microphone:

On Kathleen Doyle

Ollinger: “There’s probably not one ref in the league that likes her. She definitely brings a lot of energy. She’s super intense and always at full throttle.”

Meyer: “She brings so much emotion and passion. I’m thankful we have been able to build a friendship.”

On Makenzie Myer

Doyle: “She likes to have a good time. She’s pretty similar to me.”

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Ollinger: “She’s a sharpshooter. She can probably shoot with her eyes closed. She’s such a presence on the court.”

On Amanda Ollinger

Doyle: “Amanda’s a little more reserved. She spends a lot of time on her own. She’s quiet, but she’s witty and sarcastic.”

Meyer: “Watching Amanda grow, both on and off the court, it’s one of my favorite things. She has become a lot more comfortable with herself. She knows her role, and she doesn’t care about stats. She just wants the team to be successful. That’s hard to find.”

Your legacy at Iowa

Doyle: “Hopefully that my leadership skills have become more well-rounded the longer I’ve been here. As a good teammate that had a lot of fun, with the energy I brought.”

Meyer: “As a player that has worked hard and given everything she had, someone that was coachable and a good listener.”

Ollinger: “As a great teammate, somebody that played every role the best I could. Somebody that hasn’t always been in the spotlight, and has been OK with it.”

Iowa’s recruiting class of 2016 consisted of Doyle, Meyer and Ollinger, plus Alexis Sevillian (now a redshirt junior) and Bre Cera (who transferred after one season to Milwaukee).

Their tally is 95-35 with two NCAA tournaments (including an Elite Eight run last year), going on three. They won the Big Ten tournament title last March.

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“Kathleen, she’s not just a candidate for Big Ten player of the year, she’s one of the top players in the nation,” Bluder said. “Makenzie, she’s a steady 3-point shooter. Amanda had blossomed this year and is having the time of her life.”

Reserve post Paula Valino Ramos also will be honored after the game Thursday. A biochemistry major from Spain, she will graduate in three years.

“I really wanted to play in the United States, and playing basketball and getting a competitive education here has been everything I asked for,” Valino Ramos said.

Bluder said, “I wouldn’t last one day in any of the classes that Paula has taken for the past four years. She has fulfilled her role here, to push and challenge our other posts.”

The Hawkeyes have won 35 straight games at Carver. They rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final eight minutes to beat the Gophers, 76-75, Jan. 16 in Minneapolis.

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

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