University of Iowa

Sydney Affolter a ‘do-it-all player' for Final Four-bound Iowa, Lisa Bluder raves

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Losing a starting player in the final game of the regular season can be a tough obstacle, but for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the emergence of Sydney Affolter has been a huge boost for the Final Four-bound squad.

Affolter, who has started 10 games for Iowa this season, reentered the lineup after Molly Davis suffered an injury in the regular season finale against Ohio State. She has registered double-digit point totals in six of the seven games that have followed, including 16 points and five rebounds in a 94-87 win over LSU that brought the Hawkeyes back to the Final Four.

While Davis is questionable to return for that Final Four, head coach Lisa Bluder was full of praise for Affolter’s easy transition back into the lineup during the Big Ten Tournament and into the NCAA Tournament.

“She just handled it beautifully,” Bluder said. “It was just effortless, her moving into the starting lineup.”

The coach praised Affolter’s efforts on both ends of the floor, raving about her ability to do the little things needed to win.

“She’s that kind of do-it-all player. She’s a very blue-collar player,” she said. “Sydney brings toughness, she brings versatility, she brings somebody that is going to dive on the floor for loose balls, going to rebound, going to be physical on the defensive side of things.”

That kind of mentality has proven valuable for an Iowa team that has faced some challenges in the tournament, including a defensive struggle against West Virginia in the second round and then again in the closing minutes of Monday’s game against LSU, with the Tigers pulling out all the stops to end Iowa’s season.

The toughness was also on display when Affolter was shifted into a reserve role early in the season, something that Bluder said the forward adjusted to with aplomb.

“Sydney has handled everything like a professional all year,” she said. “I told her midyear, ‘you’re the (best) sixth player in our league, because you’d be starting on most other teams.’”

In the NCAA tournament, Affolter has averaged 13.3 points and six rebounds per game, making 64.3% of her field goal attempts and converting on 82.4% of her free throw attempts.

Affolter and her Iowa teammates will aim to continue their magical run on Friday when they take on UConn in the Final Four in Cleveland.

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