Iowa is in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season, which is impressive.
The 1-4 record in first-round games is … less so.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve only won one NCAA Tournament game,” Iowa senior Jaime Printy said. “Being able to play at home and in front of our own fans and on our home court is a huge advantage for us, and we are all really excited.”
Iowa’s (20-12) opponent this time around, Miami (21-10), at 6:30 p.m. today has the same trappings of past first-round match-ups: an athletic team from a power conference.
It proved to be a bad mixture in 2012 (California), 2009 (Georgia Tech) and 2008 (Georgia). Iowa beat Rutgers in 2010 and lost to a highly-ranked Gonzaga team on their home court in 2011.
“They are an excellent defensive team by looking at their numbers,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said of Miami. “Their press is something that we have got to be thinking of because it’s something they have done a lot of.”
Junior Theairra Taylor said she knows what East and West Coast teams think when they draw the Hawkeyes.
“I feel like when teams see the name Iowa, they think they can (press),” Taylor said. “But we can push. (Center) Morgan (Johnson) can get up and down the court; Sam (Logic) is amazing in the open court. And they can’t leave our shooters — Jaime and (Melissa) Dixon — open.
“We’d love to play up and down. We all need to be as aggressive as possible.”
Miami coach Katie Meier said she doesn’t want Iowa’s sophomore point guard setting the tone.
“Samantha Logic is critically important,” Meier said. “That Purdue game, they are unbeatable when she plays that way.”
“That Purdue game” was a 72-52 win at then-No. 18 Purdue back on Feb. 17. It was a game that broke a five-game losing streak for Iowa and tied a school record as the seventh win over a ranked team in a season.
Some of those other big wins came in the preseason against teams from other BCS conferences (such as West Virginia, Iowa State and Texas).
“We can’t go in there thinking we’re the underdogs,” Taylor said. “All of us are fully expecting to win this game.”
The Hurricanes are tough defenders, led by senior Morgan Stroman, a member of the All-ACC Defensive team.
“That’s how you win games,” Stroman said. “Defensive effort. I would say we’re very aggressive and very physical at times, but we can also get back and play in zone and do what we have to do to stop you from hitting shots and getting those boards.”
The Hurricanes force a lot of turnovers (19.0 per game) but also make a lot of turnovers (18.7).
Miami also is the rare team that has an answer for 6-foot-6 Iowa center Morgan Johnson. The Hurricanes have 6-foot-6 center Shawnice Wilson (9.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
“It’s been awhile,“ Johnson said of playing a center her height. “It just present a different type of problem. I’m excited. I’m a problem-solver.”
The Hawkeyes are ready to solve the problem of recent NCAA history.
“I think we do well against teams that are really athletic,” Taylor said. “I think we can pick up our pace.”
Reach Ryan Suchomel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 339-7368.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball