By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Molly Davis would have been the unquestioned star and leader of the Central Michigan women’s basketball team as a senior next season if she had decided to stay.
But she felt she needed a change, so she entered the NCAA transfer portal and would go on to visit four schools.
One of those schools – the University of Iowa – stood above the rest and that’s why Davis, a 5-foot-7 combo guard, will transfer to Iowa this summer and have two seasons of eligibilty under head coach Lisa Bluder.
“Iowa stood out to me the most,” Davis said Saturday afternoon in a telephone interview. “They have an amazing community, an amazing culture and I’m just very thankful to coach Bluder and the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity to play at a university filled with amazing people.”
Davis also visited Michigan State, Minnesota and Bowling Green before picking the Hawkeyes.
A native of Midland, Michigan, Davis played for three seasons at Central Michigan and scored 1,438 points as a Chippewa. She averaged 18.6 points per game this past season, but her team only finished 4-25 overall.
Davis started 30 games as a freshman, earning second-team all-conference honors while averaging 14.3 points and shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range.
Davis was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a sophomore, averaging 20.8 points and 37.9 minutes per game during an 18-9 season that ended with the loss to Iowa in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m obviously very thankful for my teammates and for the relationships that I’ve built throughout my past three years,” Davis said. “It was definitely not an easy decision to make. But I had to make a decision that was going to be best for me and for my future. So I decided to enter the transfer portal.”
Davis will join an Iowa team that won the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships last season, and that is led by one of the top players in the country in 6-0 junior guard Caitlin Clark, who led the country in scoring and assists last season.
Iowa also likes to push the pace on offense, and that fits Davis’ playing style.
“There is obviously a lot of freedom and they push the pace a lot,” Davis said. “They can score at a high level, at a high rate. And, obviously, they have one of the best players in the entire country on their team.
“So, that definitely stood out to me a lot.”
Asked to describe her playing style, Davis said:
“I like to push the ball in transition and can shoot it from three. But can also get to the basket with a little bit of carftiness in trying to find the open shooters.”
Davis played both point guard and shooting guard for Central Michigan, and she thinks her versatility will help her at Iowa.
“I’ve played with I guess you could say two point guards in my first two years at CMU,” Davis said. “I’ve kind of played those one and two roles throughout my career, and then last year I was more of the (point guard). So, I’ve had experience at that one and two spot.
“But whatever coach wants me to play, wants me to do, I’m going to play that role to the best of my ability.”
Davis scored 18 points in Central Michigan’s 87-72 loss to Iowa in th first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.
She already was familiar with the Iowa players on the court, and then she became better acquainted with them on a personal level during her on-campus visit.
Davis was impressed with the camaraderie and with the culture at Iowa.
“They just love to have fun,” Davis said. “You can tell they love to play the game of baskeball, but they also enjoy each other. You can tell that in the way they play and when I went on that visit, you could just tell they really enjoy being around each other, and they love to have fun.”
Davis said she plans to move to Iowa City this summer.
She will add depth to an Iowa backcourt that lost Tomi Taiwo, who is transferring to Texas Christian University.
Former Iowa forward Logan Cook will also transfer to Providence after finishing her classes this spring.
Iowa is expected to have the full allotment of 15 players on scholarship next season.