IOWA CITY – It crept into Trisha Nesbitt’s mind Tuesday night. Before she went to bed the Iowa senior guard reminisced about her four years in Iowa City. After flipping through the mental images of her career, her thoughts sprung forward to Thursday night, Iowa’s final regulars season home game, and her last as a Hawkeye.
“It’s going to be crazy experiencing one of our last times on Carver and as a group in general,” Nesbitt said. “I’m hoping not to be too emotional but I’m sure that will come out.”
A senior night banquet will be held following Iowa’s game against Indiana (11-16, 2-12). It will honor Nesbitt along with Morgan Johnson and Jaime Printy.
With plenty of memories to file away on the court, Nesbitt created them off the court too, more than any senior. A co-captain, Nesbitt brought a new Christian organization for student athletes on campus. She also played a role in constructing a new church in the Iowa City community.
Her numbers on the court won’t turn many heads, but the respect she has inside the locker room forces players to listen when she speaks.
“She has embraced being a senior captain on our team. Our team really looks up to her,” Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said. “I think she probably has the most say of all the three captains and the most impact of all the three captains.”
She’s the third senior, in a class with Johnson – who has started the most games in program history – and Printy, who committed to be a Hawkeye at the age of 15. The two have their names scattered among the annals of Iowa women’s basketball history. Nesbitt might only be a footnote in the 2012-2013 season, appearing in 25 games and averaging 6.9 minutes in those contests. But her work ethic to gain the respect of her teammates places her firmly in the opening paragraph.
“The freshmen come in and you’re automatically going to have that natural (aura) of Jaime and Morgan because of what they’ve done on the court,” Bluder said. “So she’s had to work harder to gain their respect.”
Like any player who’s spent four years with a program, Nesbitt experienced highs and lows. As a freshman she appeared in 34 games, and started one. During the next two seasons, injuries held to just 30 games. Her freshman start against Indiana still is only one of her career.
Heading into this year’s matchup against the Hoosiers, Iowa is 1-6 in its last seven Big Ten games. “Starting freshmen year we started the Big Ten 1-6,” Nesbitt said. “We started to experience something like that this year and I think that we’ve been a group of girls that have come back with the same exact attitude, coming to fight and coming to prepare every single day.”
After the 1-6 start to begin conference play in 2009-2010, Iowa finished 20-14 and 10-8 conference record. The Hawkeyes qualified for the NCAA Tournament and lost in the second round to No. 2 Stanford. Iowa currently sits at 17-11 and 6-8 in the B1G, with two games remaining. After Thursday’s senior night, Iowa travels to Northwestern to conclude the regular season.
“Knowing that we have Big Tens and hopefully NCAA tournament, it’s not our last game every [night],” Nesbitt said. “It’s not our last chance ever to be together. So that’s good to know.”
Eventually though, her time wearing black and gold on the court will end. But her time at Iowa paved the path for her future off it. Nesbitt is engaged to former Iowa basketball player Jerryd Cole. The wedding is set for mid-June.
So the senior from Ames leaves Iowa City without her name atop the record books or being a house hold name. But she might actually graduate with more than that.
“She’s a great example of continue to work hard even when you don’t get the reward. Trish has been a fabulous role model,” Bluder said. “I don’t know, she’s leaving here with a fiancé, so maybe she’s benefited the most from being here.”