Hawkeye Fans Bring WNIT Title Game to Iowa City
Nov. 16, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa head women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder credits the Hawkeye faithful for her team's opportunity to host the Preseason WNIT Championship on Sunday afternoon.
"They want the best environment for the national television audience for their championship, and we can provide that," said Bluder during a Friday media teleconference. "The Iowa Hawkeye fans can provide it, and our administration and arena provide that."
Iowa hosts North Carolina at 3 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be televised to a national audience on the CBS Sports Network. The network can be found on DirecTV (613), Dish Network (158) and Mediacom (171 or 762 - HD).
After claiming a 69-63 overtime victory over Middle Tennessee State in the WNIT semifinals, the Hawkeyes crossed one goal off their list. Now it's on to another.
"We set some ambitious goals," said Bluder. "You set goals that are hard (to accomplish), but you also hope you're going to achieve some of those goals so you can feel the success. That was a big thing for us in the Middle Tennessee game; we felt some success for reaching one of our goals."
The Tar Heels bring a 3-0 record to Iowa City after downing Georgetown, 63-48, Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.
Bluder sees a lot of Middle Tennessee in North Carolina, albeit with more size. The Tar Heels boast a front line of 6-foot-6 Waltiea Rolle at the center position and 6-foot-2 Xylina McDaniel at the power forward. Both players average 10.7 points and pull down 9.7 and nine rebounds, respectively.
"North Carolina is a team similar to Middle Tennessee with the exception their posts are bigger," said Bluder. "Middle Tennessee's posts were very good, but they didn't have the North Carolina's height."
Bluder says the Hawkeyes will have to contain guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt's penetration to be effective. Ruffin-Pratt leads the team, averaging 15 points and 4.3 assists per game.
"She's a key player," said Bluder. "She's unbelievable in transition, and we're going to have to provide a lot of help defensively on her. She is so good in transition and getting to the hole."
The switch comes on the heels of Printy's 26-point scoring outburst in the victory over Middle Tennessee State, which included a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.
Sunday's meeting is the fourth all-time between Iowa and North Carolina -- the first in Iowa City -- with the Hawkeyes holding a 2-1 advantage. In 2010, UNC downed Iowa in Chapel Hill, 79-67, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.