Hawkeyes Draw California in NCAA Tournament

March 12, 2012

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 (19-11, 11-5) are a No. 9 seed and will play No. 8 seed California (24-9, 13-5) from the Pac-12 in South Bend, Ind., at the Joyce Center. First round action will begin Sunday at 11:10 (CT). The game will be televised live on ESPN2, with Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke calling the action.

This marks Iowa’s 21st trip to the NCAA Tournament. Head Coach Lisa Bluder has led the Hawkeyes to nine NCAA Tournament appearances in her 12 years at Iowa, including each of the last five years.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be in the NCAA Tournament,” Bluder said. “I don’t care how many times you go through the selection show; it’s always great to see your name come up on that screen. The NCAA Tournament is what every team strives for and we are very happy to be participating for the fifth straight season.

“We are also excited to be able to play in the Midwest,” Bluder added. “The past few years we have been from east coast to west coast. Our loyal Hawkeye fans will now have a chance to travel to South Bend to see us play in the NCAA Tournament against a very solid California squad.”

The California Golden Bears finished second in the Pac-12 behind Stanford, and lost to the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game. California and Iowa shared three common opponents during the regular season; Illinois, UNLV and Ohio State. California defeated Illinois (80-56) and UNLV (70-48) and dropped a two-point decision to Ohio State (77-75). The Hawkeyes defeated Illinois in overtime (69-62) and fell to UNLV (69-59) and Ohio State (84-71).

California is led by Layshia Clarendon, who was one of 15 players named All-Pac-12 at the end of the season. Clarendon has started all 33 games and leads the team with 12.6 points per contest. Reshanda Gray and Brittany Boyd were both named to the Pac-12 All-Freshmen team. Gray is the second leading scorer at 10.2 points per game, while Boyd is next at 10.1 points. Gennifer Brandon leads the Bears with 9.9 rebounds per game.

Iowa and California have met twice, with the Bears winning both matchups on a neutral court. The teams first met in the Sun Devil/Dial Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 9, 1982, with California winning, 89-66. The other meeting was in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands on Nov. 29, 2008. No. 3 ranked California defeated Iowa, 76-43. The Hawkeyes are 11-16 all-time against Pac-12 opponents.

Iowa is 2-4 all-time in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed. The Hawkeyes advanced to the second round as a No. 9 seed in 1997 and 2002. This is the fourth time that Iowa has entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed. The Hawkeyes have never played an NCAA Tournament game in the state of Indiana.

The South Bend first/second round site is a part of the Raleigh, N.C. Regional. No. 1 seed Notre Dame will take on No. 16 seed Liberty approximately 30 minutes after Iowa’s game vs. California. The two winners will meet in the second round Tuesday at 6 p.m. (CT).

Tickets can be purchased by calling (574) 631-7356 or by clicking HERE. All session tickets are $32 for adults and $22 for children college age and under.