Know your role.
For Carly Mohns, it was that simple philosophy that carried her through her freshman season at Iowa in 2014-15.
Mohns watched classmates Whitney Jennings and Chase Coley carve out sizable roles for the Hawkeyes, who enjoyed its best season in nearly 20 years.
The season was thrilling yet difficult for Mohns, as the former all-stater at Broadhead (Wis.) High School found herself out of the spotlight for the first time in years.
Mohns may have found herself far from the forefront during her freshman season, but she still was able to find her role.
And when she found it, she stuck to it.
"It's a tough change. Sometimes, the big part is just understanding your role. It's not going to always be the big role, so you just have to come in and learn your role," Mohns said. "I learned that my role in practice was to push the starters to work hard, and after I figured that out, I started working as hard as I could in practice."
A year older, stronger and more accustomed to the rigors of the college game, Mohns is hoping the hard work she put in last season leads to a bigger role as a sophomore.
With four seniors, including three starters, gone from last year's team that went 26-8 and advanced to the Sweet 16, Mohns will be one of a number of Hawkeyes contending for expanded playing time.
Outside of practice, the role was a limited one for Mohns as a true freshman. Mohns appeared in 14 games, scoring 11 points and grabbing 19 rebounds in 64 minutes.
The Hawkeyes' success was a big part of what helped Mohns stay motivated.She described the experience she gained in practices last season as invaluable to her development as a player.
Watching all-conference seniors such as Samantha Logic and Bethany Doolittle also helped Mohns mentally.
"Knowing that I was going up against Sam Logic and elite players, I knew I was on a good team. You can't just come in and expect to be the best one," Mohns said. "When you have people like that, I feel like I understood that we had a great team with lots of great players."
Known for her rebounding and defensive ability Mohns is spending the summer working on her offensive game. Shooting and ball handling are parts of Mohn's daily work as she hopes to develop her game and her role as a sophomore.
"There is a lot to learn. You have to learn the physicality the speed of the game,Mohns said. "... I feel like it's a whole different game of basketball. It's a lot different style than high school."
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.