Whitney Jennings looking for more as a sophomore

Ryan Murken
Iowa's Whitney Jennings drives past Northwestern's Ashley Deary during their game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2015.

For as long as Whitney Jennings has been able to dribble a basketball she's been a point guard.

Prior to her freshman season at Iowa, playing anything other than the No. 1 was about as familiar as playing on the moon for the former Indiana Miss Basketball.

"I'd never played anything except point guard," Jennings said. "It was definitely an adjustment."

With all-American Samantha Logic entrenched as the Hawkeyes' starting point guard last season, Jennings wasn't about to wait a year for a chance to get on the court.

Instead, the Logansport, Ind., native slid to the shooting guard spot and made an immediate impact as a freshman.

"It was weird at first, definitely, because I always had that natural instinct to go get the ball and last year I had to not do that," Jennings said. "It worked out great and now I can play both the 1 or the off-guard."

With Logic off to the WNBA, Jennings could move back to her natural position.

Or, as she displayed in Wednesday's Game Time League contest at the North Liberty Community Center, she could continue to flourish in her role as a shooting guard.

Jennings had 42 points and six assists on Wednesday, leading her Marion Iron Company team to a 145-75 win over Cullen Painting/Joensy's Iowa City.

"I learned a lot last year playing away from the ball," Jennings said. "There are going to be instances where I play both the 1 and the off-guard this year so just being able to use what I have done my whole life and then what I learned last year is really nice."

Regardless of what position she plays, Jennings figures to be a key building block for the Hawkeyes for the next three seasons.

The 5-foot-5 Jennings started 31 games last season as a freshman, averaging 9.1 points per game.

Jennings, who connected on 18-of-27 field-goal attempts on Wednesday — including 6-of-11 3-pointers — expects to put up even bigger numbers this season.

"I'm just continuing to work on being aggressive on offense," Jennings said. "I think I'm going to need to be more of an offensive threat this year for our team so just continuing to be aggressive on offense."

During summer workouts Jennings and freshman Tania Davis have split the point-guard duties for the Hawkeyes.

The work that Jennings did last season at the shooting guard spot allows the Hawkeyes the flexibility of putting both Davis and Jennings on the court as the same time.

For Jennings, her scrimmage time at practice is often spent battling Davis and working on her point-guard skills.

The Game Time League gives Jennings the chance to work on her off-the-ball skills.

And, as she showed on Wednesday, do what she does best: score.

"When we scrimmage me and Tania always have to split up and play the 1 so I always play the 1 at scrimmages," Jennings said. "This is a chance for me to play a different position out here."

Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or rmurken@press-citizen.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.