March 21, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa women’s basketball team has advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons, and it’s no surprise the Hawkeyes’ goal is to advance to the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City.
No. 3 seed Iowa gets its chance Sunday — as the favorite — hosting 11th-seeded Miami (Florida) at 11 a.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A win would send the Hawkeyes to their first Sweet 16 since 1996.
“It’s great to be here, but I don’t think it’s any secret that we want to go further, that we’d love to be playing next week,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder during a Saturday NCAA news conference. “We know Miami is a great team and they have the same goals as we do.”
After playing top-seeded Notre Dame in the Second Round in 2013 and third-seeded Louisville last season, the script is flipped. On paper, Iowa is considered the favorite, but the Hawkeyes know once the ball is tipped none of that matters.
“Seedings don’t matter at this point. It’s the NCAA Tournament and anything can happen. You have to come out from the get go with that intense mindset and that’s what we plan to do.”
Sophomore Ally Disterhoft
“We’re not looking at the numbers and how good of a chance we have (to advance),” said senior All-American Samantha Logic. “We know we are going to have to execute and play a great game.”
“Seedings don’t matter at this point,” said sophomore Ally Disterhoft. “It’s the NCAA Tournament and anything can happen. You have to come out from the get go with that intense mindset and that’s what we plan to do.”
The 11th-seeded Hurricanes posted an upset victory to get to the Second Round, downing sixth-seeded Washington, 86-80, in the Round of 64 Friday. Miami played one of its most complete games of the season, scoring its second-most points of the year and committing a season-low four turnovers.
Miami won’t be intimidated playing on Iowa’s home court after posting an 8-8 Atlantic Coast Conference record during the regular season. The Hurricanes have played (and beat) some of the nation’s best, posting victories over No. 4 Notre Dame (78-63) and No. 23/22 Syracuse (85-71).
“This is a good basketball team from a good conference,” said Bluder. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us, but we’re on our home court, are on a mission, and Sam Logic, she’s pretty hard to defend.”
Miami head coach Katie Meier is well aware of Logic’s importance to the Hawkeyes, but, collectively, one through five, it’s more about the Iowa team.
“This team has such guts and the dagger doesn’t come from just one person,” said Meier. “(Melissa) Dixon’s dagger is pretty impressive, but there are a lot of people on this team who will take the big shot and step up. Nobody backs down or hesitates.”
Meier embraces the challenge of facing Iowa on its home court for the second time in three seasons, and playing in front of the Hawkeyes’ loud, smart crowd. Iowa has won all three games in the all-time series, including a 69-53 victory in the First Round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
“We love (the crowd),” said Meier. “I love it for women’s basketball, and I love it for Lisa. She has built this program, is a great lady, and deserves this kind of support. I’m happy to be here.
“(The crowd) is not going to be a negative for us, but it can be rattling. I remember that from two years ago when you’re trying to communicate (with your players) and (Iowa) is throwing traps at you, so we have to prepare for that.”
Sunday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 with Clay Maverick and Katie Smith on the call. Tickets are available by calling the UI Athletics Ticket Office at (800) IA-HAWKS or going to hawkeyesports.com.
“We really hope our fans again come out and support us tomorrow,” said Disterhoft. “They make a huge difference in the game. They are influencers and have done great things for us this year.”