Iowa women win opening game in Italy
Following three days of traveling, shopping and sightseeing, you can add winning a basketball game to Iowa's Italian tour.
Five players scored in double figures Friday as Iowa earned an 84-52 win over Dream Team Italian Select in Ponte Buggianese, its first of three exhibition games in Italy.
"This has been a fun trip for us; it has been mostly traveling, a little bit of shopping, but our primary focus for us today was the game," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "Sometimes when you are traveling like this you can blame fatigue or blame a strange gym and make so many excuses. Our team made no excuses, they came out here and worked extremely hard and I was very happy with the productivity out there."
Junior guard Alexa Kastanek led Iowa with 15 points as eight different Hawkeyes scored in the win.
Sophomores Whitney Jennings and Carly Mohns each added 14 points for Iowa while Mohns tied for the team lead with eight rebounds.
"It was fun to come here and play a different country and it was a different game, I feel like," Mohns said. "It was just fun to play a different type of basketball, it was pretty physical."
Mohns was one of six Iowa players with at least five rebounds as Iowa held a 35-17 edge on the boards.
Freshman center Megan Gustafson matched Mohns with eight rebounds while Chase Coley, Jennings, Hannah Stewart and Kali Peschel all grabbed five rebounds.
"I thought it went really well, I thought our rebounding was much improved over last year, which is exciting because we really need to do that," Bluder said. "We did a great job on the boards and that allowed us to get out and push. I thought we pushed hard, I thought we had great energy, especially in our zone, and our half-press so I thought it was a really good first outing."
Coley added 10 points for Iowa while Stewart had 12.
Junior Ally Disterhoft had eight points while Gustafson and senior Claire Till each chipped in with six as all 12 available players saw action.
"It was nice just to get out there with everybody in a game setting," Disterhoft said. "This was the freshman's first time in a game setting so that was really good."
Iowa will return to action on Tuesday against Asd Pallacanestro Muggia and wrap up its exhibition slate on Wednesday against TK Hannover.
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.