Ally Disterhoft embracing new role on court
Freshman Tania Davis and sophomore Christina Buttenham will both miss Iowa's three exhibition games during the team's 11-day Italy tour with injuries.
However, junior Ally Disterhoft will see her first non-Game Time League action since undergoing offseason surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in her right wrist and thumb area.
Iowa's first of three games in Italy on Friday against Palazzetto Sandro Pertini will be the first for Disterhoft outside of the North Liberty league since last March.
The junior West High graduate is more than ready.
"I feel really good, I don't feel any pain anymore," Disterhoft said. "Conditioning-wise I feel there, mentally I'm there so I'm ready to go."
A two-time all-Big Ten pick, Disterhoft is the Hawkeyes' top returning scorer after tying for the team lead with 14.8 points per game last season.
One of only three players on an Iowa roster with eight underclassmen to average double-digit minutes last season, Disterhoft will still be transitioning to a new role.
With seniors Bethany Doolittle, Samantha Logic and Melissa Dixon gone to graduation, Disterhoft will be the top option in the Iowa offense for the first time.
Voted a team co-captain for the first time, Disterhoft also finds herself in a new role off the court.
The 10 practices leading up the Italy trip and the three exhibition games in Italy give Disterhoft a chance to work in that leadership role.
"Now she is a leader, she is a captain so she has that extra responsibility of holding other people accountable and making sure everyone else is toeing the line and that is a learning process, that doesn't happen overnight," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "She has gotten to really work with that the last 10 days just developing her leadership skills and will get a chance to continue to do that in Italy."
The highest-ranked prospect in Iowa's top-20 national recruiting class, Davis will miss the three exhibition games with a shoulder injury sustained in practice.
The 5-foot-4 point guard didn't sustain significant damage in her shoulder and won't require surgery, but will be away from the court for several weeks including.
"Of all the freshmen that could get hurt she is one you don't worry about because she was so far ahead and she is such a quick learner," Bluder said of Davis. "Even watching she would come up and ask questions. She'll bounce back."
Buttenham sustained a stress fracture in training for the Canadian Under-19 National Team.
The sophomore is expected to be out four to six weeks, but should be ready for the start of the regular season.
Both Davis and Buttenham accompanied the team to Italy, but will miss the three exhibition games.
"She will be back," Bluder said of Buttenham. "She will be healthy."
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.