March 13, 2006
- The NCAA Tournament
- Watch and Listen to Lisa, the Hawkeyes
- 2006 Iowa Women’s Basketball Summer Camps
Bluder’s Bunch is in! They’re dancin’! They’re dancin’!
Excited? You bet!
The 2006 University of Iowa women’s basketball team has been rewarded for a season that tested Lisa Bluder, her staff and the Hawkeyes at every turn with a No. 10 seed in the San Antonio Region of this year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Hawkeyes, 17-11 and the Big Ten Conference’s fifth-place team, will play Brigham Young, the region’s No. 7 seed, Saturday at 2 p.m. Iowa time in Denver in first round action of the Big Dance. The game will be televised live by ESPN2 in Iowa and nationally on ESPN-U.
A victory on Saturday and Iowa will square off against either No. 2 seed Oklahoma or No. 11 seed Pepperdine on Monday, Mar. 20.
Click HERE to review the bracket.
“I woke up at 5 (this morning) and couldn’t sleep anymore,” said an obviously thrilled Bluder shortly after learning her squad was included in the field of 64.
“I’m sure I gave Bob (Bowlsby) a pretty good bruise to his back when I saw our name flash on the screen. It was a very loud lockerroom,” she said of her team’s reaction to the at-large invitation.
Bluder credited the Hawkeyes’ strength of schedule and the fact that her team finished alone in fifth place in the Big Ten as reasons for her team’s selection. The Hawkeyes also overcame injury to post a handful of big – very big – wins. Nevertheless, it was a long wait.
“I’m sure I gave Bob (Bowlsby) a pretty good bruise to his back when I saw our name flash on the screen. It was a very loud lockerroom.”
“It took forever. Was it the third or fourth bracket?” she smiled. “It took forever, but I’d love to live it over again.”
Bluder also said she was pleased with the seed. “I thought an 11, maybe even a 12. So I’m delighted with being a 10,” she said.
“I’m really happy and excited right now,” said senior guard Crystal Smith, the Hawkeyes leading scorer and, without question, the spark that makes this Iowa team go.
“I always believed we would get in; I never doubted it,” she added. “I didn’t see a good reason why they shouldn’t have taken us. We played hard down the stretch and we are all really excited.”
“I was pretty optimistic about being selected,” said sophomore forward Krista VandeVenter.
“I had heard both sides, and I didn’t really know what to think,” she continued. “I was hoping for the best. It’s a very different atmosphere after you are selected. We are still celebrating.”
Bluder’s Bunch joins Purdue, the No. 4 seed in the Cleveland Region; Michigan State, the No. 4 seed in the Bridgeport Region; Minnesota, the No. 8 seed in the San Antonio Region; and Ohio State, the No. 1 seed in the Albuquerque Region, as the Big Ten’s representatives in this year’s national tournament.
The Hawkeyes also join Iowa’s men’s basketball team as participants in the NCAA’s respective post-season tournaments. Steve Alford’s squad will square off against Northwestern State late morning Friday in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Iowa and BYU will square off in the Pepsi Center in Denver. Tickets cost $60 for adults, $30 for students and can be purchased by calling (800) 872-8337. Fans of the Hawkeyes can also purchase tickets online hawkeyesports.com beginning at 8 a.m. Iowa time Tuesday (Mar. 14). Over-the-counter sales at the UI Athletic Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and telephone orders to (800) IA-HAWKS will begin at 9 a.m. Iowa time Tuesday.
Iowa and BYU will square off in the Pepsi Center in Denver. Tickets cost $60 for adults, $30 for students and can be purchased by calling (800) 872-8337.
Fans of the Hawkeyes can also purchase tickets online hawkeyesports.com beginning at 8 a.m. Iowa time Tuesday (Mar. 14). Over-the-counter sales at the UI Athletic Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and telephone orders to (800) IA-HAWKS will begin at 9 a.m. Iowa time Tuesday.
The invitation to the NCAA’s post-season party is the 16th in school history and the fourth under Bluder, who is in her sixth season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s deepest run in the tournament came in 1993 when C. Vivian Stringer guided the Hawkeyes to the Final Four. Bluder guided Iowa to the second round of the 2001 and 2004 tournaments.
“Just being able to say that we made the (NCAA Tournament) in two out of my four years in college is personally gratifying,” said senior forward Tiffany Reedy.
“Hopefully this is starting a new era in women’s basketball at Iowa.”
Bluder agreed. “This, I hope, is the start of becomes an annual occurence. That was our goal this year and it’s our goal every year.”
Brigham Young brings a 25-5 overall record into post-season play, a mark that includes a 13-3 record in Mountain West Conference play. The Cougars were defeated by Utah by a 84-60 score in the championship game of the Mountain West Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament last Saturday in Denver.
Louisiana State is the No. 1 seed in the San Antonio bracket. The field also include Louisiana Tech – the region’s No. 11 team and a squad that survived a visit from the Hawkeyes during the non-conference portion of the Hawkeyes’ 2005-06 schedule.
Duke is the No. 1 seed in the Bridgeport Regional, North Carolina – the tournament’s No. 1 seed – is on the top of the hill in the Cleveland Region.