IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder’s conversion to a two-post offense attack was reluctant at first, but necessary.
“The last couple of seasons, our posts were some of the best players on our team,” Bluder said, referencing Megan Gustafson (of course), Chase Coley and Hannah Stewart.
They’re all gone now, graduated. And the two-post offense? That’s gone, too.
During the 10 practices preceding its summer trip to Spain, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team transitioned back to Bluder’s traditional four-out, perimeter-based attack.
— Iowa Women’s BBall (@IowaWBB) August 8, 2019
“With the new offense, it’s like everybody’s a freshman again,” Bluder said during a media gathering Tuesday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We’ll be a one-post team. Sometimes, we’ll be a no-post team.”
It’s the opposite end of the spectrum from last year, when Hawkeyes (29-7) won the Big Ten tournament and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament behind Gustafson, the consensus national player of the year.
“It’s definitely different,” senior Makenzie Meyer said. “We’re kind of used to spending 25 seconds looking for Megan and chucking it in to her.”
Monika Czinano was Gustafson’s freshman understudy last year and probably has the inside track as the starting center.
“There was such a huge learning curve last year,” Czinano said. “But I got to learn from the best post in America.
“Now, (with the one-post offense), there’s a little more room inside, and it gives the guards more freedom to shoot or drive.”
The Hawkeyes drive from Iowa City to Chicago on Wednesday, then fly to Madrid. They’ll play three games — Saturday in Madrid, Tuesday in Valencia and Aug. 16 in Barcelona.
For at least the first game, they’ll be without point guard Kathleen Doyle, who is representing the United States in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. She’ll catch up with the Hawkeyes in Spain.
“I want them to have fun…this is a chemistry part and the chemistry part is such an important part of our team.” pic.twitter.com/kPwUvClXmk
— Iowa Women’s BBall (@IowaWBB) August 7, 2019
That leaves Meyer as the lone returning starter, until Doyle returns.
“She has to have more of a voice,” Bluder said. “She needs to be pushed into that role.”
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Meyer said, “It’s been good for me. I’ve always felt more of a leader-by-example person. This is a chance to step up and be more vocal.
“If I have to use my voice, I will. I’m quick to yell at my sister.”
Meyer’s sister, Megan, is one of four freshmen on the 2019-20 team. One of them is Kate Martin, who redshirted last year with a torn ACL.
Martin’s versatility makes her a natural in Bluder’s new attack.
“I’m mainly a ‘3’ or ‘4’ now, but I played a year of point guard in high school,” she said. “I’ll play where Coach needs me.”
Martin was the first newcomer that Bluder mentioned as a potential impact-maker.
“I’ve very pleased with Kate,” Bluder said. “Some of our freshmen are going to contribute. (McKenna) Warnock, (Gabbie) Marshall … they’re going to surprise you. And (sophomore) Logan (Cook), she’s made a jump.”
This article is written by Jeff Linder from The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.