March 4, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa sophomore Megan Blank has been named Big Ten Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday. Blank, a shortstop, garners her first career Player of the Week honor. She was named Freshman of the Week twice.
"Megan deserves this honor," said UI head coach Marla Looper. "We faced a tough schedule last weekend. Stanford and Oregon State have great pitching. They were on their winning streaks for a reason. It was a team effort that allowed for this honor."
Blank, who became the ninth player in school history to garner first team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman, and the ninth to earn all-region recognition as a freshman in 2012, led the Hawkeyes to a perfect 4-0 mark last weekend at the Easton Invitation in Fullerton, Calif.
The Culver City, Calif., native hit .429 in her home state, leading Iowa to wins against No. 15 Stanford (7-6), No. 24 Oregon State (9-3), Cal State Fullerton (7-0) and CSU Bakersfield (5-3). She recorded at least one RBI in every game, recording eight in all, and scored five runs.
Blank paced Iowa with two RBIs in the win over the Cardinal, who had won 10-of-11 entering the contest. She recorded a multi-hit game against the Beavers, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk, a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs. Oregon State entered the contest with a 12-game win streak. In the victory over the Titans, she finished 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. She added a triple and an RBI against Bakersfield.
"She has carried over from last year," said Looper. "That is the challenge. They call the `sophomore slump' the `sophomore slump' for a reason; because people know you and they know how to throw to you. She did some work in the offseason with coach Stacy May-Johnson, and on her own, to try and continue to build. When she relaxes and attacks the ball, she is tough to stop.
"We expect Megan to continue to grow and be better and not rest. The exciting part is she is not done."
It marks Iowa's first Player of the Week honor since April 18, 2011, when catcher Liz Watkins garnered the accolade.
Iowa continues action this weekend in College Park, Md., in the Miken Invitational hosted by Maryland. The Hawkeyes will face St. John's (8 a.m. CT) and Maryland (10 a.m.) on Saturday, before facing Radford (8 a.m.) and Ohio State (10 a.m.) on Sunday to conclude action.