March 17, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa women's basketball team has received an at-large berth into the NCAA Women's Basketball Championships for the seventh-straight season. The 19th-ranked Hawkeyes (26-8, 11-5) are a No. 6 seed and will play No. 11 seed Marist (27-6, 18-2) from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at approximately 7 p.m. (CT) on Sunday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, with Holly Rowe and Brenda VanLengen calling the action. This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
This year marks Iowa's 23rd trip to the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Lisa Bluder has led the Hawkeyes to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in her 14 years at Iowa, including each of the last seven years. Iowa is the only Big Ten team, and one of only 14 teams in the country, to appear in the last seven NCAA Tournaments (Baylor, Fresno State, DePaul, Tennessee, Stanford, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgia, Marist, Texas A&M, Iowa State, and Connecticut).
The 2014 NCAA Championships will mark the 13th time the University of Iowa has served as a host. Iowa hosted its first NCAA action in 1986 when it was one of four regional final sites. Carver-Hawkeye Arena also hosted from 1987-90, 1992-94, 1996, 1998, 2009, and 2013. The Hawkeyes hold a 10-5 record in NCAA Tournament games held in Iowa City.
The Red Foxes of Marist earned a share of their 11th-straight MAAC regular season title this year and went on to claim their ninth-consecutive MAAC Tournament title (10th overall). Marist and Iowa share one common opponent this season, Ohio State. The Red Foxes traveled to Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 23 as part of the Hall of Fame Challenge, dropping a 62-59 decision to the Buckeyes. Iowa went 3-0 this season against Ohio State, claiming both regular season matchups and downing Ohio State, 77-73, in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
Senior Emma O'Connor was a first team All-MAAC selection by the coaches, while sophomore Madeline Blais (second team) and senior Leanne Ockenden (third team) also received all-conference honors. O'Connor leads the team in points (13.6) and rebounds per game (6.8). Sophomore Sydney Coffey was named MAAC Tournament MVP after averaging 18.7 points throughout the tournament.
The Hawkeyes are 1-2 all time as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In 1991, the sixth-seeded Hawkeyes defeated Montana 64-53 in the first round before falling to Washington, 70-53, in the second round. Both contests were played in Seattle. Iowa was most recently a No. 6 seed in 2011, when it lost at Gonzaga, 92-86.
The Iowa City first/second round site is a part of the Louisville region. No. 3 Louisville will take on No. 14 Idaho in the first game on Sunday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 4:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPN. Idaho (25-8, 15-1) is making its second consecutive tournament appearance after defeating Seattle University, 75-67, in the WAC Tournament championship game. Junior Stacey Barr was named the tournament's MVP for a second year in a row.
Louisville (30-4, 16-2) earned a No. 3 seed after falling to Connecticut in the AAC Championship game. The Cardinals, who advanced to the 2013 Women's Basketball Championship game a year ago, are led by Shoni Schimmel, who was a second team All-America selection this year by ESPNW after leading the team in scoring (17.0) and assists (3.8). She became the second player in Louisville history to score 2,000 points, and was named a Naismith semifinalist. The two winners will meet in the second round on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. (CT).
Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS or by visiting hawkeyesports.com. All session tickets are $30 for adults, $18 or youth (18 and under) and seniors (50+), and $15 for groups (20+). Single session tickets are $18 for adults, $13 for youth and seniors, and $10 for groups.