After a thrilling 66-61 win over Mercer in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon, the Iowa women’s basketball team will face seventh-seeded Missouri this afternoon at 1pm.
The Tigers needed overtime to take down Drake in their first round matchup. Missouri, finishing fifth in the SEC this year, is lead by senior Sophie Cunningham, a three-time all-SEC guard. She had a 21 points on 5-10 shooting to go along with 4 assists in the win over Drake. She was the only player in the country to average at least 18 points, make 80 three-pointers, sink 140 free throws, and have 200 rebounds this season. Missouri is senior-dominated, with Lauren Aldridge and Cierra Porter making up the core of the teams offense.
Porter had 18 in the win over Drake, while Aldridge went 4-9 from deep to buoy the Tiger scoring. Missouri comes into the tournament after falling to the Mississippi State in the semifinals of the SEC tourney. Missouri matches up relatively well with the Hawkeyes; smaller forwards and quick guards, but, of course, Missouri does not have Megan Gustafson.
It will be an emotional game, as its definitely the last time Iowa’s seniors will take the Carver-Hawkeye floor as players in the second round. Iowa will likely try to push its game of moving the ball up court, patiently waiting for an open shooter or just finding Gustafson.
Iowa looked like it had to shake some rust off in its first-round win over Mercer. Missouri is the kind of team that’ll be able to capitalize on any exposed weaknesses from Iowa, and the Hawkeyes would be wise to get off to a hot start. In Megan Gustafson we trust.