AMES, Iowa – Sometimes in athletics a player comes along that brings much more to the team than what is seen on gameday.
That is precisely what freshman Kidd Blaskowsky did for Iowa State this season.
Sure the 5-7 guard performed admirably when called upon, averaging 6.6 points and scoring in double figures seven times, including five in Big 12 play.
But it might have been her fun-loving, high-energy personality that made the biggest impact on the team in her first season.
Not one to shy away from diving for a loose ball, Blaskowsky was the energy. She was quick with a fist pump after a big three-pointer. She gives high fives after a teammate’s big play and is the jokester in the locker room.
In head coach Bill Fennelly’s mind, Blaskowsky added a dimension that impacted the team as much as almost any basket she made.
“Kidd was a tremendous addition to our team,” Fennelly said. “She has an amazing passion for life, her teammates and the game of basketball. The spirit and mood of our team was dramatically impacted by Kidd and that is almost unheard of in a freshman.”
Blaskowsky had her big moments on the court. She ripped the nets for 27 points on eight 3-pointers against Air Force. She hit another five threes and scored 17 points in a January home win against Oklahoma.
A month later, Blaskowsky scored 11 second-half points as ISU beat Oklahoma for a second time.
“Kidd made some big plays for us in big games,” Fennelly said . “She is a hard worker and if she continues to show that kind of energy and effort I think she will become a real fan favorite.”
Blaskowsky’s improvement from the start of the season to the end was impressive. The Sugar Land, Texas native was forced into a role of backup point guard, a position she was mostly unfamiliar with prior to arriving at Iowa State. With the Cyclones playing a rotation that consisted of six players much of the season, Blaskowsky was merely an extension of the starting five in Fennelly’s mind.
Her improvement can be traced to her determination. In a late season meeting with the media, Fennelly recalled a moment earlier in the season following a road loss to Iowa that saw Blaskowsky go 0-for-8 from behind the arc. Before the bus had even left Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Blaskowsky tapped out a text message to associate head coach Jodi Steyer.
I’m tired of hurting my team.
Prior to Blaskowsky hitting send on that text message she was shooting 17.1 percent from behind the arc. In the 27 games that followed, Blaskowsky responded by shooting 37.5 percent from long range.
You can learn a lot about a person after a loss.
It was six simple words. Six words that said a lot about her as a teammate.