Christina Buttenham’s first year of college was like that of many freshmen.
The Ontario, Canada, native dealt with many of the same things any first-year college student encounters: homesickness, anxiety and confusion.
“Skype was a big thing for homesickness,” Buttenham said. “It was definitely tough, but I had a lot of support.”
The on-court experience for Buttenham last season was also consistent with many freshmen.
A standout high school player, Buttenham saw limited action last year as Iowa went 26-8 and advanced to the Sweet 16.
Buttenham appeared in 27 games, averaging 2.4 points in six minutes of action per game.
“It was definitely difficult,” Buttenham said. “You come from a high school team or a club team where you are starting and you are barely coming off the floor and then it’s a complete 180.”
Buttenham is entering the first offseason of her career with similar goals as her classmates: earn a larger role next season.
The 6-foot Buttenham joins a long list of Hawkeyes — including classmates Chase Coley, Whitney Jennings and Carly Mohns — who are expected to step into expanded roles this season as Iowa attempts to replace three starters from last year’s team.
Buttenham and her teammates are planning on increased playing time and have put in lots of hard work over the summer, including playing in the Game Time League on Wednesday nights.
“I’m working hard, playing in Game Time League and trying to improve,” Buttenham said. “I’m working a lot on shooting. My consistency wasn’t very good last year, so I’ve worked on my consistency with that and then ball-handling.”
The summer schedule for Buttenham is slightly different than many of her Iowa teammates.
In addition to Game Time League and team workouts, Buttenham will play on the Canadian U18/U19 Team that will compete in the 2015 U19 FIBA World Championship.
“It’s a different feel to wear your country’s name across your chest,” Buttenham said. “Before the game when you hear the national anthem, you just get chills. I love it. It’s awesome.”
A member of Canada’s 2014 U18 squad that captured a silver medal at the U18 FIBA Americas in Colorado Springs, Colo., last summer, Buttenham departed for Canada on June 26 to train for the FIBA World Championship that takes place in Chekhov, Russia.
Buttenham will train with the team in Toronto, 45 minutes from her home, until departing for Spain on July 10 for a series of four exhibition games.
The tournament runs from July 18-26, beginning with pool play.
Buttenham is hoping her international experience this summer helps her.
“I’m hoping to take on a bigger role next year,” Buttenham said. “That is what I’m working for, and hopefully this summer with the national team goes well and kind of builds into the season at Iowa.”
The international experience also provides some family time for Buttenham, who hails from Hamilton, Ontario, and attended St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School.
Her family will accompany the team to both Spain and Russia and get to spend some time her before she returns to Iowa City.
“We don’t seem them very much, but we get to see them some which is nice for me,” Buttenham said. “It’s exciting to be able to get some family time.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.