SAU's Dexter could give Energizer Bunny run for its money

Posted Online: March 07, 2011, 7:01 pm
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By Tom Johnston,
It was a play that perfectly defined Ashley Dexter's athleticism.

While on defense, the St. Ambrose University standout tips away a pass that goes back over her opponent's head. She regains her balance after making the initial deflection, speeds all the way to the opposite end line, where she gains possession of the ball.

A typical play for the All-American soccer player?

Well, yes.

But this play came in the Midwest Collegiate Conference women's basketball championship contest and, like many of her other hustle plays, helped spark the 28-4 Queen Bees to more success. This one came in the game that punched SAU's ticket to the 20th annual State Farm-NAIA Div. II Women's Basketball National Championship that begins this week in Sioux City, Iowa.

Not bad for a player who had to be talked into playing basketball by the former coaching regime and many of the current seniors. She also had to be coaxed into playing again this past fall after her All-American soccer campaign.

"I came to Ambrose for soccer initially, and only for soccer,'' said Dexter. "I liked it (playing basketball), but I wasn't totally set on coming back because I wasn't sure how my body would hold up.

"I started talking to coach (first-year coach Krista Van Hauen) and we figured things out with soccer and with school and she kind of talked me into playing.''

Dexter is glad she listened.

Just recalling that play in the MCC title clash brought a smile to her face as she had to balance pride and humility.

Plays such as that, though, are typical for the 5-foot-4 Dexter, the former North Scott High School two-sport standout who is leaving a huge imprint on the SAU campus in both sports.

"She's a spark on defense,'' said senior basketball captain Ali Dolphin, an NAIA All-American who knows about making great plays on the court. "She's always getting her hands on the ball and making such great steals.''

"She's absolutely ridiculous,'' said junior Annie Smith. "I wouldn't want to be a point guard dribbling against her; I'd probably get the ball stolen from me every time. She's incredibly quick and never lets up on defense. She's one of our best defenders, to be perfectly honest.

"She's pretty little, but if you want steals, quickness, and hustle, Dexter's your person. She gets the job done.''

Of late, Dexter has been getting the job done on both ends of the court for the Queen Bees. Getting her basketball legs under her after an All-American soccer season, Dexter has emerged as the prototypical point guard. She has started the last 16 games, averages 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. She has 110 assists and 59 steals in 28 games.

"She has improved so much since the third week of November when she joined our team,'' said Van Hauen. "At first, she was just known as the passer or for her defense. Then, when (then starting point guard Megan) Cash got hurt, she had to pick up her scoring to help us through that stretch. Now, it's nice that at the end of the season she's doing both. We don't need her to score all those points, but it does help. She's taking care of the ball, she's dishing out the ball, she's playing defense and her energy level is amazing. ... She's just a competitor.''

In the 79-72 MCC title game victory over William Penn, Dexter broke loose for 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals in a team-high 39 minutes.

All in a day's work for Dexter, who could give the Energizer Bunny a run for it money.

"I've got bruises, scars, scratches, the whole works, but that's just part of the sport, but that's why I like it and why I play,'' said Dexter. "Hitting the grass or hitting the hardwood, it all feels the same pretty much. It's not a comfortable feeling.''

Yet, it doesn't stop her from giving her all for the good of the team.

And Van Hauen thinks she has so much more to give when it come to hoops.

"The funny thing is, she doesn't spend a lick of time on basketball,'' said Van Hauen. "She is such a natural athlete and she plays so hard and with a higher energy level.

"I hope this success puts a fire in her and that she spends at least 30 minutes a day on basketball. If she does that, she's going to be an amazing basketball player for us the next two years.''

As long as soccer doesn't take precedence.



Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.

(More History)