The tournament news just doesn't stop around here. A day after the field was announced for the men's NCAA Tournament (and the NIT!), the field was announced for the women's NCAA Tournament and, as expected, Iowa was one of the teams named. Iowa, 19-11, grabbed a #9 seed and will play #8 Cal in Notre Dame, IN at 11:10am CT on Sunday, March 18th on ESPN2.* Win that game and they'll likely play #1 Notre Dame (30-3), the top seed in the Raleigh region. (For the full bracket, click here.)
* ESPN2's coverage of the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament is highly regional, so it may or may not be on ESPN2 in your area. If you live in Iowa, though, it should be on ESPN2.
The #9 seed isn't an ideal draw, but even if they'd been a #10 seed and been able to beat one of the #7 seeds in their first round game, the #2 seeds -- Kentucky, Duke, Maryland, Tennessee (combined record: 101-23) -- aren't much less daunting. Cal finished the year 24-9, 13-5 in the Pac-12. Three of their losses came at the hands of #2 Stanford and all but three of their losses were by five points or less. They're a quality team and Iowa will need to play very well to beat them. Still, any spot in the NCAA Tournament looked like a long shot in late January, when Iowa was 11-10 and had just lost their best player, Jaime Printy, to a season-ending ACL injury. What followed was an 8-game winning streak to end the regular season and one of Lisa Bluder's finest coaching efforts, culminating in a fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Well done, ladies. Now go win a few more.