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Iowa Basketball: Incoming Hawkeyes earn top high school honors in their state

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The University of Iowa women’s basketball team will play in its seventh straight NCAA Tournament on Sunday when the sixth-seeded Hawkeyes host 11th seed Marist at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The program appears to be in good hands under coach Lisa Bluder and all signs continue to point upward in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes will welcome a 2014 Parade All-American next season.

Miss Indiana Basketball Whitney Jennings, an Iowa signee, earned the honor earlier this week and is just 1-of-20 high school seniors selected to the squad.

Iowa, who will take a 26-8 record into the tournament, is just one of four Big Ten with an incoming freshman named to an all-American team with Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State being the other three. The Hawkeyes and Spartans are the only two teams in the league to have back-to-back Parade all-Americans. Iowa freshman Ally Disterhoft earned that distinction last year and junior Samantha Logic was an all-American in 2011.

“Anytime we have a recruit named a Parade All-American, it is a great honor for our program and for the recruit,” said Bluder. “It is a tremendous accomplishment to be considered one of the top-20 players in the country.

“We have had Parade All-Americans join our program in back-to-back years, and Sam (Logic) also earned the honor in 2011. That says a lot about the type of kids we are recruiting to come here and join our program.”

Jennings is a 5-foot-5 senior guard from Logansport High School in Indiana. She was named Gatorade Indiana Girls Basketball Player of the Year after scoring 32 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out 7.4 assists per game this past season. Jennings also had 5.1 steals per contest as she led the Berries (24-3) to the Class 4A state semifinals.

Jennings finished her career with 2,641 career points, which ranks fifth on the state’s career scoring list.

Christina Buttenham (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), Chase Coley (Minneapolis), and Carly Mohns (Brodhead, Wis.) have also signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Iowa next fall.

Coley, a native of Minneapolis, also was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Minnesota Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Coley, a 6-foot-4 senior center from Washburn High School, has led the Millers to a 23-6 record and a berth in the Class AAA sectional finals.

A 2014 Minnesota Miss Basketball nominee, Coley averaged 24.4 points, 18.4 rebounds, 9.4 blocks, 6.2 assists and 5.7 steals through 29 games.

Coley owns Minnesota prep records for blocks in a game, season and career. She also ranks among the top three in state history for single-season and career rebounds.