Slightly lost in our euphoria over Iowa's 83-52 hamblasting of Davidson last night was the fact that the Iowa women also picked up a win in the NCAA Tournament, dispatching #14 seed American, 75-67. The game was tied 36-all at halftime thanks to some red-hot shooting from the Eagles -- they were 13/27 (48.1%) from the floor, including 6/11 (54.5%) from deep, and those numbers don't even reflect the degree of difficulty or improbability of several of the American shots that went in. So even though Iowa was (surprisingly) tied at half, there was reason to be optimistic -- surely the Eagles couldn't keep shooting like that all game. And, indeed, they could not -- they made 11/28 shots (39.3%) in the second half and 6/17 (35.3%) from deep.
Those threes did help keep things close enough to make things squirm-inducing -- especially when an Arron Zimmerman triple (one of five she made in the game) cut Iowa's lead to 69-64 with 2:41 to play. Iowa wasn't able to make any buckets after that, but Whitney Jennings and Samantha Logic did combine to go 6/6 on free throws down the stretch to hold off American (who, fortunately, also missed their next three 3-point attempts). It wasn't the rout that may have been expected from a 3 versus 14 game, but there are no style points in the NCAA Tournament -- just surviving and advancing to the next round.
All five Iowa starters scored in double figures, led by Ally Disterhoft's 18 points (on 6/13 shooting, 3/5 from deep). Jennings added 16 points (on just 5 shots; holy efficiency!) and there's something very satisfying about seeing Iowa's win led by two underclassmen. Iowa is losing a trio of excellent seniors in Logic, Melissa Dixon, and Bethany Doolittle, but the cupboard is anything but bare. Dixon chipped in 15 points on one of the odder shooting lines you'll see: 4/5 from 3-point range, 0/5 from 2-point range. Doolittle had a quieter day than expected, given her size advantage over the American post players, but she still had 10 points and 6 rebounds. And, finally, Logic had her customary stat-stuffing performance: 14 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists. Yeah, that's not too shabby. It's a testament to Logic's incredible brilliance that her near-triple doubles have become so customary that they barely raise an eyebrow.
With the win, Iowa advances to the Round of 32 and will play #11 seed Miami (who upset #6 seed Washington, 86-80, earlier on Friday) for a spot in the Sweet 16. That game tips off at 11 AM CT from Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. ESPN2 again will have coverage, although if you're outside of Iowa or the Miami area, you may not get to see the entire game (Duke-Mississippi State is airing at the same time). ESPN3 will have the full game, though.
Miami went 20-12 this year, 8-8 in the ACC, good for 8th in the league. As you'd guess from their #11 seed, they were one of the last at-large teams selected. Miami went off for 86 points against Washington, but over the course of the season, they weren't a particularly high-powered offense -- they scored 66.8 ppg. They made their bones with defense, holding opponents to just 59.5 ppg. The Canes didn't shoot particularly well this year (39.1%), but also kept opponents from shooting very well, either (38.6%). Opponents are converting 31.3% of their 3-pointers against Miami. Miami isn't particularly good at rebounding or blocking shots, but they are good at grabbing steals (9.4 spg) and limiting their own miscues (they have a +4.23 turnover margin). Miami mainly seems to be pretty decent at several things, but great at very few.
The key player to know for the Canes is Adrienne Motley, a 5-9 SO guard leading the team in scoring with 16.8 ppg. She erupted for 30 points in Miami's win over Washington. Jassany Williams, a 6-2 SR forward, led the team in rebounding with 6.1 rpg, but she's not much of a scoring threat (5.5 ppg). Guards Jessica Thomas (9.0 ppg) and Michelle Woods (8.5 ppg) are the top scoring threats after Motley; they had 19 and 17 points, respectively, against Washington. One of the other keys for Miami in Friday's game was their ability to get to the line -- they attempted a staggering 40 (!) free throws, although they converted just 25 of them (62%). That plus some solid three-point shooting (7/12, 58.3%) powered them to a win.
Miami is a good team -- obvious point alert; they're all good teams in the NCAA Tournament -- but they're not exceptional at anything and barring a blinding shooting performance from Miami (or another foulfest wildly in their favor), this should be a very winnable game for Iowa if they play their usual game. Go get 'em, Hawks.