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Dont Overlook Iowas Sydney Affolter Who Went From BlueCollar Backup To Key Starter


Sydney Affolter‘s game embodies a certain toughness, a trait not surprising for someone hailing from Chicago’s South Side. Under the mentorship of women’s basketball pioneer coach Mary Pat Connolly, the Iowa junior earned recognition as a three-time all-state honoree. Affolter’s aggressive playstyle and willingness to battle for rebounds or loose balls have earned her the reputation of being “Chicago tough,” a label she acknowledges but doesn’t entirely embrace.

According to Iowa coach Lisa Bluder, Affolter epitomizes a “very blue-collar player.” Whether this grit stemmed from her upbringing, her neighborhood, or her experiences in the competitive realm of Big Ten basketball, Affolter has undeniably earned this descriptor. Throughout the season, whenever the Hawkeyes required a dose of tenacity, Affolter rose to the occasion.

Affolter’s pivotal role became evident when she was thrust into the starting lineup for the Big Ten tournament due to a knee injury sidelining starting point guard Molly Davis. This promotion shifted Affolter from her previous role as a key backup to Caitlin Clark’s supporting cast and contributed to Iowa’s journey to its second consecutive Final Four appearance. In Affolter’s seven starts during the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, she averaged 13.4 points per game compared to her previous average of 7.1 points in 30 games coming off the bench.

In a crucial moment during the tournament, Affolter’s impact was palpable. With the game tied late against West Virginia, Affolter seized the moment, driving to the basket, drawing a foul, and converting the three-point play, ultimately securing Iowa’s victory.

The transition from Davis to Affolter in the starting lineup wasn’t merely a positional change. While Davis excelled as a traditional point guard, Affolter brings versatility, standing four inches taller and demonstrating the ability to play various positions on the court. Her deceptive quickness and surprising strength allow her to outmaneuver opponents and dominate the boards.

Affolter’s contributions haven’t gone unnoticed, earning her recognition on the Big Ten all-tournament team for her standout performances. Starting games has boosted her confidence and aggression, providing the Hawkeyes with a much-needed infusion of toughness.

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