CLOSE

Lisa Bluder: Our team is excited for their possibilities' Dargan Southard, msouthard@gannett.com

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

IOWA CITY, Ia. — One week before opening what’s expected to be a special season, the Iowa women’s basketball team suffered an unfortunate setback.

Junior guard Kathleen Doyle suffered a left hand fracture during Friday’s practice and will miss four to six weeks, the Hawkeyes announced. The preseason all-Big Ten selection fractured the third and fourth metacarpal in her left (non-shooting) hand.

This news will test the Hawkeyes’ backcourt depth from the jump. Doyle provides stability and leadership at the point guard position, and Lisa Bluder must work around this early blow.

Iowa, ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press’s preseason poll, does have options to offset this. Guards Alexis Sevillian and Makenzie Meyer have plenty of experience from last year’s NCAA Tournament run, while senior point guard Tania Davis is waiting in the wings as she finishes off ACL rehab.

Bluder reiterated at Wednesday’s media day that there’s no rush with Davis, who’s suffered torn ACLs in each of the last two seasons, but Doyle’s injury may accelerate Davis’ return just a bit.

"We're a better team with Tania on the floor," Bluder said at Wednesday's media day. "She is such a good floor general out there, and so is Kathleen. And I'm lucky to have two really good point guards on my team, and both scoring point guards. They're not just set-up-other-people point guards, but they have the ability to do both And that's a nice luxury to have.

"But there is no doubt that Tania makes everybody on the team better when she's on the court, because she has the ability to see the floor. She knows the game so well, knows when to attack, when to pull it back, when to get the ball to whom, and she's really good at that."

A four-to-six-week absence puts Doyle’s return between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14. If that timeline holds, she could potentially miss most of the nonconference schedule.

Important early games include an intriguing trip to Western Kentucky (Nov. 13), a strong Junkanoo Jam field (Nov. 22-24) and a date at defending champ Notre Dame (Nov. 29).

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE