IOWA CITY, Ia. — Lisa Bluder knew what the gathering of reporters wanted to know.
"During media day, everybody kind of wants to know about the freshmen," Iowa's women's basketball head coach chuckled during her opening news conference Wednesday morning. "And I think we have a pretty good group to talk about."
Yep, we do.
The Hawkeyes welcome the seventh-best freshman class, according to Blue Star. The class features three ESPN top-100 recruits — Makenzie Meyer, Amanda Ollinger and Kathleen Doyle — and McDonald's All-American nominees Bre Cera and Alexis Sevillian.
It's Bluder's second consecutive top-20 recruiting class and it could very well yield a couple more Big Ten All-Freshman team members, like Megan Gustafson and Tania Davis from last season.
“The freshmen have been very impressive," Ally Disterhoft said. "Obviously we knew they were a highly ranked class coming in, but they continue to impress every day. They just have an incredible work ethic, bring a lot of energy. And I know a lot of people have said that before, but it’s really contagious and our whole team believes that.”
So let's hear about these heralded newbies, straight from the mouths of their new teammates and coaches.
Makenzie Meyer, G, 5-9, Mason City, Iowa
Bluder: "The thing about Mak is she can play either position for us. She's a steady, steady player on the court. She just doesn't get rattled, and I love her composure that she brings to the court."
Chase Coley: “Kenzie has an amazing floater and can score whenever she wants.”
Disterhoft: "Kenzie Meyer played for All Iowa Attack, the AAU program, which is the same program I did, so we know that they treat her well there, they really prepared her for the college transition.”
Kathleen Doyle, G, 5-9, LaGrange Park, Ill.
Bluder: "Kathleen played point guard in high school, but she's adapting well to either position and will play either for us on the floor this year."
Coley: “I love Doy, Kathleen Doyle. She reminds me of Ally. They’re so competitive. They go head-to-head in practice ... they make each other better and that’s fun to watch.”
Disterhoft: “Kathleen, you can’t say enough about how passionate a competitor she is. It’s really fun to go out there and play with someone who gets after it and has that edge like I do, like I believe I do.”
Alexis Sevillian, G, 5-5, Goodrich, Mich.
Bluder: "Lexi Sevillian from Goodrich Flint High School, kind of unique angle in that she joins her former high school and AAU teammate Tania Davis. So they're joining forces again, and they're excited about having the opportunity to wear the same uniform again. But Lexi was, again, a McDonald's All-America nominee, two-time all-state selection in Michigan. She was runner-up for Miss Michigan Basketball last year. And she's another guard that has really good 3-point range, but she also has the defensive mentality to really back that up."
Megan Gustafson: “Lexi is a lot like Tania a little bit. She’s been doing really well. She has this drive down that’s great and she’s been utilizing that. She has really good passes, too.”
Coley: “Lexi is so crafty and can get to the basket whenever she wants.”
Amanda Ollinger, F, 6-1, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Bluder: "Another Iowan, from Linn-Mar High School where former Hawkeye great Jaime Printy was her high school coach. So kind of an interesting connection there. Amanda was also a McDonald's All-America nominee, a top 100 recruit nationally. Amanda can play either forward position for us, and with her height and with her 3-point shooting range, she can create some incredible mismatches, once she figures out how to use that."
Gustafson: “Amanda, she’s a really good rebounder and a really good outside shooter, too. She does the trail 3, which she’s really doing well on.”
Coley: “Amanda’s got one of the prettiest 3-point shots I’ve ever seen.”
Bre Cera, F, 5-10, Mukwonago, Wis.
Bluder: "Bre has an amazing motor. I love how hard she works every single possession. She can play defense. She can rebound on both ends of the floor. And I just love the energy that she brings to the court."
Gustafson: “Bre’s just awesome to be around, all-around good player. She has this awesome reverse and she pivots a lot and she really manages to get tough shots in.”
Coley: “Cera is kind of a monster. She’s so mean, she gets in there and she’s rough and tough, and she’ll take someone out.”
Bain covers Iowa women's hoops for HawkCentral, the Iowa City Press-Citizen and Des Moines Register. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.