IOWA CITY, Ia. – Before Jaime Printy and Morgan Johnson can take a shot at an upset for the ages, they’ll have to help the Iowa women’s basketball team break from its recent past.
The Hawkeyes have celebrated just one NCAA Tournament victory since 2002, and an opening-round win tonight against Miami of Florida would likely bring a Tuesday showdown with top-seeded Notre Dame.
It’s not exactly a favorable draw, but both games would take place at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I just hope we come out and win this first one,” Printy said, “so we get the chance to play again at home.”
Printy, a 5-foot-11 guard, and Johnson, a 6-5 center, were freshmen when Iowa beat Rutgers in the 2010 tournament.
Since then, they’ve endured losses against postseason heavyweights Stanford, Gonzaga and California.
“I think it’s just an amazing opportunity, whether you’re a senior or not,” Johnson said. “We want to go out of this building with wins, one at a time.”
The ninth-seeded Hawkeyes (20-12) tip off their sixth straight NCAA appearance against No. 8 Miami (21-10) at 6:30 p.m. today.
Hurricanes coach Katie Meier is familiar with Iowa’s history.
She had three siblings attend the university and sent a film to then-Iowa coach Vivian Stringer in search of a scholarship.
“I got rejected. I wasn’t good enough,” Meier said. “I spent a lot of time here. I did all the trips in the van with Mom and Dad.
“I’m not bitter,” she said with a grin.
Stefanie Yderstrom, Miami’s senior guard, didn’t seem to mind playing in front of a pro-Hawkeye crowd.
“I’m just excited,” she said. “I’ve never been to Iowa before. It’s something different, and that’s what the NCAA Tournament is all about.”
Shawnice Wilson, a 6-6 center, will give the Hurricanes a powerful presence in the post.
“She moves her feet well, gets up and down on the floor really well,” Johnson said. “She also likes to turn and get the quick shot.”
The Hawkeyes will try to control the tempo and avoid turnovers against a Miami defense averaging 9.3 steals per game.
The Hurricanes are unheralded, but talented.
“It’s all about matchups,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “It’s whether you match up well against a team or you don’t.”
Bluder owns a 3-6 record in the first round with the Hawkeyes, including six losses in her past seven attempts.
“We don’t talk about making a run,” Bluder said. “We talk about winning one game at a time.
“That’s all that really matters is the next game we have ahead of us.”
For Printy, who is third on Iowa’s all-time scoring list with 1,822 points, and Morgan, the Hawkeyes’ career leader with 290 blocks, it’s a chance to cement their legacies.
“It’s just pride,” Bluder said. “You want to win every game you’re in. I don’t care if you’re playing in the Hawkeye Challenge or the NCAA Tournament.
“Yes, there’s a little bit more at stake right now, but you want to win every game you’re playing.”
TODAY’S IOWA WOMEN’S GAME
WHO: Miami (21-10) at Iowa (20-12)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
TIPOFF: 6:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $30 all session (adult) or $18 all session (youth, student and seniors)
RADIO: WHO-AM (1040)
STAT LEADERS: For Iowa — Morgan Johnson 14.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.0 bpg; Samantha Logic 9.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 6.5 apg; Jaime Printy 12.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.2 apg; For Miami — Morgan Stroman 12.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.1 apg; Stefanie Yderstrom 12.0 ppg, 2.4 apg.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES: Making their third consecutive NCAA appearance. Coach Katie Meier led Miami to a first-round win in 2011, ending an 18-year NCAA victory drought.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: The only Big Ten team to earn a spot in each of the past six NCAA Tournaments. This is Iowa’s 22nd appearance overall, with a 17-21 record.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball