Bluder's Bunch Set To Go Dancing

March 17, 2008

by Matt Weitzel

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team has received an at-large berth into the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships. The Hawkeyes (21-10) are a No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 Georgia (22-9) in Norfolk, Va., in the first round on Sunday, March 23, at approximately 1:30 p.m. (Iowa time).

This marks Iowa’s second trip to the state of Virginia in its last three NCAA Championship appearances. The Hawkeyes competed at Virginia Tech in 2004.

The first-round match-up between Iowa and Georgia will be the fifth meeting between the two schools, including the second time at the NCAAs. The series is tied, 2-2. Iowa bounced the Bulldogs from the NCAA Championships on March 19, 1987 (62-60) with the game played in Monroe, La. The Hawkeyes also defeated Georgia on Nov. 28, 1987 (66-56) in Iowa City. The Bulldogs topped Iowa on Jan. 5, 1991 (62-51) in Iowa City and on Dec. 20, 1995 (79-52) in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Iowa, which will play in its 17th NCAA Tournament, is in the New Orleans Region and will travel to Norfolk, Va., to play the first two rounds. If the Hawkeyes advance to the second round, they would play the winner of No. 1 North Carolina (30-2) vs. No. 16 Bucknell (16-15) on Tuesday, March 25.

Iowa is 16-16 all-time in the NCAA Championships, including a 7-2 record in first-round games and a 5-9 mark in second-round contests.

For first- and second-round ticket information, fans can call 1-800-IA-HAWKS beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 18.

The Hawkeyes are 2-0 all-time against North Carolina and 1-0 vs. Bucknell. This is the third time in Iowa’s last four NCAA tournaments that it has earned a No. 9 seed (2002, 2004 and 2008). The Hawkeyes were a No. 10 seed in their last NCAA Championships appearance (2006).

UI head coach Lisa Bluder, who was named 2008 Big Ten Coach of the Year, has guided the Hawkeyes to postseason tournaments seven of the last eight years (five NCAA and two WNIT) while coaching the Black and Gold. Iowa’s last trip to the NCAAs was in 2006, when the 10th-seeded Hawkeyes lost to seventh-seeded BYU (67-62) in the first round at Denver, Colo. Iowa last advanced to the second round in 2002, when it defeated Virginia in the first round, but lost to Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., a team that ultimately won the national championship.

Four Big Ten teams will compete in the 2008 NCAA Championships. Iowa joins sixth-seeded Ohio State (New Orleans), eighth-seeded Purdue (Oklahoma City) and ninth-seeded Minnesota (Greensboro) in the field of 64.

Bluder will hold her weekly press conference Wednesday, March 19, at 1:15 p.m. in the Press Room of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Selected players will be available for interviews following the press conference near the arena court.

Click HERE for the Big Ten Network home page.