|IOWA VS. ILLINOIS, UIC|
|Date||Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 | 4:00 p.m. (CT)|
|Location||Iowa City, Iowa | Carver-Hawkeye Arena|
|Live Stream||BTN Plus|
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 22 University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team hosts Big Ten foe No. 21 Illinois and Illinois-Chicago (UIC) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. (CT). Doors are set to open at 3:00 p.m. (CT).
The Hawkeyes enter their fifth conference match with an overall record of 5-3 and a 3-1 mark in conference play. The team suffered its first conference loss on the road last Sunday against No. 20 Nebraska, 196.825-195.725. Iowa is now tied for first in the Big Ten Conference.
“I’m looking for intensity and tenacity from my team going into our meet on Saturday,” said UI head coach Larissa Libby. “I want to see them have no mercy against these two teams. I believe you win or lose competitions before you ever get to the arena by your attitude, demeanor, and how you control your environment. I’m looking for that type of look from my team this weekend. They did a fantastic job last weekend, and I believe that we are headed in the right direction.”
Iowa is ranked No. 22 nationally with a 195.325 scoring average. The GymHawks rank 19th nationally on beam (48.783 scoring average), 20th on bars (48.833), 21st on floor (48.929), and 27th on vault (48.779).
Illinois is currently ranked 21st nationally and tied for first in the Big Ten with a conference record of 3-1 and an overall record of 6-2. Illinois defeated Minnesota 196.025-193.375 last Friday. With the win, the Fighting Illini improved their standing (from third to first) in the conference. Illinois is led by sophomore Lizzy Leduc, who is ranked tenth in the all-around (39.400 season average), fifth on beam (9.890), and 20th on floor (9.875).
UIC fell to Eastern Michigan 194.550-193.375 last Saturday to bring their overall record to 1-8. UIC returns 15 letterwinners from last season. Sophomore Mikailla Northern leads UIC in the national all-around ranking at No. 84 with an average score of 38.680.
Saturday is Iowa’s annual Pink Meet to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the meet. The first 250 fans will receive a free pink Iowa gymnastics t-shirt upon arrival. All children 18 and under are free admission.
“Breast cancer is not a disease that discriminates,” said Libby. “It just happens – regardless of whether you’re super fit, if you’re the best eater, or if you’re not. It doesn’t make a decision on who it’s going to affect and who it’s not going to affect. This meet is a reminder to listen to your body and be aware of what’s going on. Normally, when people are in pain they ignore it, but that is a habit that people need to break. People need to learn to listen to themselves for the sake of their health.”
One hour prior to the start of the meet, there will be Hot Dog Happy Hour where fans can purchase hot dogs for only one dollar. The Kids Zone will also be available for young Hawkeyes and will include tattoos, trivia questions, and building snowflakes. Fans will also have the opportunity to sign the “I Am” Banner. Additionally, a few lucky fans will be selected for the “Best Seat in the House” with floor seats.
Fans can follow along with the GymHawks as they take on Illinois and UIC on Saturday through live stats on hawkeyesports.com or by following @IowaGymnastics on Twitter and Instragram or on Facebook at facebook.com/iowagymnastics. Live streaming of the meet will also be available on BTN Plus.