By: Randy M. Larson
Game Time League Commissioner
The Game Time summer basketball league for women began its' 12th season Wednesday June 20th with the competition level higher than ever. The NCAA prohibits more than 2 college teammates from playing together in the summer but this year neither Iowa nor UNI had more than 8 returning players available or healthy to play in the summer so Game Time was able to reduce the number of teams to 4, making the level of competition the highest it's ever been. Twenty one of the 40 roster spots are taken by Iowa or UNI players.
Sam Logic of Iowa was the first pick and she might have been even if everybody had been healthy. Jaime Printy and Kathleen Reynolds will sit out the whole summer of course, since they just had ACL surgeries, but Morgan Johnson, Theairra Taylor, Bethany Doolittle, and Melissa Dixon will all play after the first night's games. Taylor and Dixon are still recovering from knee surgeries and Johnson is recovering from knee tendonitis, while Doolittle was in a moped-car collision the day of the first game and suffered from bruises and scrapes but suffered no injuries that will hamper her.
Jacqui Kalin and Mercedees Morgan are among the notables from UNI that will also sit out due to injury, as will highly regarded sophomore-to-be from Kirkwood Bianca Dufelmeier.
The draft order, taking into consideration the limited basis Johnson, Taylor and Dixon will play, was Sam Logic, Bethany Doolittle, Morgan Johnson, Trisha Nesbitt, incoming frosh to Iowa Kali Peschel, Theairra Taylor, Melissa Dixon, Amber Kirschbaum, Mackenzie Westcott from Bradley, and freshman-from-UNI Sharnae Lamar.
The first games were largely a story of missing players. The full Coralville Hy-Vee team coached by Mike Stoermer defeated the team that was missing its' first two picks, Morgan Johnson and Theairra Taylor, 75-68. I coached the losers, sponsored by Cullen Painting/Monica's and Bob's your Uncle restaurants, and was proud of how competitive they were without their 2 injured stars. Hy-Vee was led by UNI sharpshooter Brooke Brown with 21 points on 8-10 shooting, including 4-5 from 3 and 1-1 from the free throw line. Athletic and smooth frosh-to-be-at-Iowa Kali Peschel looked ready for a spot in the rotation as a swing player right away this fall, as she shot 4-5 from 3, grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, and scored 18 points for the winners.
Post player Jessica McDowell led Cullen Painting with 16 points, shooting 5-7 on 2's, 1-4 on 3's, 3-4 on ft's. They showed great balance with Megan Hayes from Coe scoring 13, incoming UNI frosh Jessi Pauley had 11, UNI's Brittni Donaldson had 10, and former Iowa Wesleyan great Melanie McCreight added 8. Cullen Painting won the battle of the boards 43-35 but shot just 5-15 from the line and Brown and Peschel were just too good, along with Iowa's Trisha Nesbitt's leadership.
The second game illustrated the same problem as the LL Pelling/Culver's team was missing their first 2 picks, Bethany Doolittle and Melissa Dixon. Dixon, who showed us last summer the incredible shooting and high-intensity defense that Iowa fans got to see when she exploded onto the scene as a freshman filling in Printy's spot in the starting lineup when she got hurt, will play June 27th, as will Doolittle, who is completely healthy and showed a lot of scoring and rebounding ability last year for Iowa. But the short-handed Pelling team got completely overwhelmed by Sam Logic's team, 86-55, although it was only a 13-point deficit at half.
Sam Logic's team, sponsored by Vinton Merchants/McCurry's, was led by good balance. UNI's post Jen Keitel had 19 points and 10 boards; another UNI post Amber Kirschbaum posted 15 points and 17 boards; and Logic and Bradley's Westcott added 9. Sharnae Lamar showed she is already a great college defensive player, as she used her incredible quickness and intensity to harass Logic all over the floor, and led them in scoring as well, with 21, shooting 3-7 from 3. The big players for Vinton led them to a 58-37 rebounding edge, with incoming-frosh-to-UNI Alyssa Johnson leading Pelling with 10.
Game Time resumes Wednesday June 27 at 6:00 and 7:30 at the North Liberty Recreation Center, just off Hwy 965 on Cherry Street. The gym is air-conditioned, games are free, and almost all the players are predicted to be able to play in this 2nd game. See schedules, rosters and info at www.primetimeleague.com or contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.