A day after the Iowa men's basketball team found out their postseason destination, the Iowa women discovered theirs. The Iowa women earned a #9 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will play the #8 seed Miami Hurricanes in a first round match-up. Of course, since the game is being held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, this means that Iowa will technically be the road team... on their home court. I'm sure Miami will certainly feel like the home team in this game.
Miami finished the season 21-10, 11-7 in the ACC, good for a tie for 4th place in the league. They bowed out in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Miami is led by Morgan Stroman, a 6-1 senior forward averaging 12.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg this season. 5-8 senior guard Stefanie Yderstrom proved to be an able sidekick, averaging 12.0 ppg and serving as Miami's primary outside shooter (making 60/159, a 37.7% clip).
Iowa and Miami played several common opponents this year, too. Miami beat Penn State (the eventual Big Ten regular season champion) early in the season; Iowa lost to the Nittany Lions later in the season. Iowa played Florida State once and Miami played the Seminoles three times; Florida State won all four games by double digits. Iowa and Miami each played North Carolina once apiece; each also lost to the Tar Heels (though Miami kept it closer, losing just 64-62, compared to Iowa's 77-64 defeat.) And Iowa and Miami also played Wisconsin; Miami beat them once, while Iowa beat them twice. These are two fairly evenly matched teams (with a slight edge to Miami, I suppose), which is probably fitting for an #8 vs. #9 match-up.
If Iowa can get by the 'Canes, they'll likely face the #1 seed in their region, Notre Dame. Notre Dame finished the season at 31-1, sweeping the Big East regular season and conference tournament titles (and ending Connecticut's 18-year streak of winning at least one of those titles) and spending most of the year as the second-best team in the land, behind only Baylor and the Fightin' Griners. (In fact, their only loss this season was early in the season against Baylor.) That would be a seriously daunting challenge for Iowa, should they get that far, but at least they'd have the benefit of home court. And, hey, they did really well against ranked teams this year (at least for a while)... At least one expert thinks Notre Dame is in the toughest region, in part because it might have to contend with a second-round game on the lower-seeded host school's home floor.
Iowa's game with Miami is scheduled for 6:30 pm CT on Sunday, March 24. Tickets are available here. The game will be televised on ESPN2, although if you're not in the local market, you'll be subject to ESPN's "whiparound" coverage, where they try to air the most competitive game for out-of-market audiences. The full bracket for the women's NCAA Tournament can be found here.
Best of luck to the Iowa ladies this weekend.