By John Riehl
Theairra Taylor begins her redshirt junior season at the University of Iowa having missed more games due to injury than she has played.
Suffering three torn ACLs in 20 months caused the once-prized recruit from St. Paul, Minn., to sit out 53 games from 2009-11. Taylor, who has played in only 41 games as a Hawkeye, finally is healthy and ready to be a major contributor in the backcourt.
Taylor was in the starting lineup Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, scoring seven points and dishing out three assists in Iowa’s 86-51 exhibition victory over Division II Quincy University.
“You have to go into every game like it’s your last,” said Taylor, a spot starter last season who played in all 31 games. “I just try and have fun. The injuries made me really strong, and everybody on this team can go through adversity.”
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder admires Taylor for all that she has overcome.
“Nobody has seen Theairra like (the coaches) have seen Theairra,” Bluder said. “It’s fun for me to think about the treat Iowa fans have in store for themselves because I know the player she can be. She is there now, and she can do it now. She’s an exciting player to watch. I have so much admiration for her because of how much desire she has to be on the floor wearing an Iowa uniform.
“When you have a kid who wants to be on the floor that badly, it makes you want to work so much harder for her.”
Taylor was even anxiety-free before the game.
“There was no puking,” said Taylor, who used to get sick to her stomach before tip-off. “I was just really excited to be there on the court. My confidence has quadrupled. I feel like I’m letting everything come to me. I am comfortable out there.”
With all-Big Ten guard Jaime Printy sidelined with a strained hamstring suffered in practice last week, sophomore guard Melissa Dixon assumed the role as Iowa’s long-distance sharpshooter.
Dixon scored a game-high 28 points, making seven 3-pointers in 11 attempts. The seven triples would have tied the Iowa school record for 3-pointers in a game if this would have been a regular season contest.
“My teammates were finding me when I was open,” Dixon said. “My shot felt good tonight.”
Printy missed the final eight games last season with a torn ACL, but this current injury is to her other leg and is not considered serious.
“I think (Printy) will be back on Friday,” Bluder said.
Printy’s backcourt running mate, Samantha Logic, had a solid game at point guard, with 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
A Racine, Wis., native, Logic sparked the Hawkeyes during a decisive four-minute stretch in the first half. With Iowa leading 13-12 at the 10-minute mark, Logic returned to the game and the Hawkeyes regained control with a 13-2 run.
Logic made two baskets and assisted on another in the spurt.
“Sam is a great leader. I know she doesn’t have a captain’s title, but I feel like she leads our team really well,” said senior center Morgan Johnson, who had 12 points and nine rebounds Sunday. “Everyone has confidence in her.”
Iowa, which has qualified for five straight NCAA tournaments, opens the 2012-13 season Friday, hosting Northern Illinois in the first round of the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball