IOWA CITY — Art has finally become reality for Ally Disterhoft.
That little pony-tailed girl who posed for an Iowa women’s basketball poster about 10 years ago, she’s all grown up now.
“Wearing this uniform, it’s something I’ve dreamed about for a really long time,” Disterhoft said during the Hawkeyes’ media day Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “When I put it on the first time (about a month ago), I took a ton of pictures and sent them out.”
Disterhoft is much, much more than a token hometown girl, playing for her dream school. She was Miss Iowa Basketball 2013 at Iowa City West, leading the Women of Troy to three state tournaments, including the 2012 state championship.
She’s expected to contribute. She might start.
“Both of our freshmen (Disterhoft and Alexa Kastanek) are both going to be asked to contribute immediately,” said Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder. “Both of them are capable of it. Both want to compete and both of them will compete for us immediately.”
The state’s leading scorer last year at West, Disterhoft figured to be a perimeter player at Iowa. That might be the case partially, but not entirely.
Bluder disclosed Thursday that Disterhoft is in the running for the starting job at power forward, along with Kali Peschel and Claire Till.
“It’s really going to be physical down there (in the paint),” said Disterhoft, a slender 6-footer. “My game is pretty versatile, and I’ll do whatever the coaches ask.”
Disterhoft said she has gained “5 to 10 pounds” since starting summer workouts.
“I keep asking people, ‘Do I look bigger?’ I hope I do,” she said. “I’m going to have to be aggressive. I feel like I can hold my own.”
Disterhoft and Kastanek both were ESPN HoopGurlz top-100 recruits. A 5-foot-10 product of Lincoln, Neb., Kastanek is projected as a backup point guard behind Samantha Logic.
HOME AGAIN, HOME AGAIN
Bluder’s opening monologue was a tribute to the UI administration for garnering a first- and second-round site for the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year.
“I want to applaud the efforts of our administration and the fans that came out to support us in last year’s NCAA tournament to help us get another one this March,” Bluder said. “It’s a great honor to be one of the 16 host sites in the country, and now it’s really up to myself and my staff and the women wearing those Hawkeye jerseys to make sure that we’re back there again on March 23.”
The Hawkeyes have qualified for six straight NCAAs. Last year at Carver, they beat Miami (Fla.) in the first round before falling to Notre Dame in Round 2.
Iowa State also will host a subregional.
NEW FACE ON THE BENCH
Lacey Goldwire joins the staff as an assistant coach. She replaces Shannon Gage, who has taken a similar position at Oklahoma State.
Goldwire spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant at Morehead State. She was a student assistant for two years and two years as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State.
“I think that since she’s a little younger than the rest of us, she can relate to the players a lot better, and I think that’s good. I think we need that,” Bluder said. “But I also think she’s going to be an excellent recruiter for us. I’m very optimistic about that, and she’s already making significant inroads in that area for us.”
Assistants Jan Jensen and Jenni Fitzgerald will be spending their 22nd season with Bluder, their 14th at Iowa.