Spring snow. And an aggressive Hawkeye defense.
What are two things Miami was probably not ready for in the NCAA Tournament?
“I have a lot of faith in this team, and I’m really disappointed,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “Iowa has got some basketball players.”
Ninth seed Iowa beat eighth seed Miami 69-53 with hands-y defense in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in front of 6,836 fans Sunday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The NCAA win was the first for Iowa since 2010 and fourth under coach Lisa Bluder. It sets up a second-round tilt against top seed Notre Dame at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday back in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“You always want to play the best of the best,” Iowa junior Theairra Taylor said. “Just to know.”
Iowa (21-12) didn’t win the last first-round game it hosted back in 2009, but got it done Sunday.
“People are really tempted to look at the offense of our team,” sophomore point guard Samantha Logic said. “But we can have good defensive efforts. Tonight was a really good one, too. We put it all together.”
Iowa forced the Hurricanes into 24 turnovers and held them to 30 percent shooting (18-of-60) including 25 percent in the second half (7-of-28).
“We’ve really worked on it this year,” Bluder said. “I think we’ve improved immensely. I think the team is buying <FZ,1,0,28>into it, and they understand it is going to contribute to their success.”
The Hurricane starters combined for 23 turnovers. Iowa had 10 steals, led by Taylor with four.
“We came out with a good game plan on defense,” Taylor said. “We knew we had to get down and get dirty or else we wouldn’t have this victory.”
Iowa scrapped and clawed, and switched from man to zone to half-court trap and everything in-between.
“A lot of their defensive game plan caused us to hesitate and get on our heels and really not be the aggressive quick-strike team that we need to be,“ Meier said. “So very, very, very disapointed and just really, like I said, shocked.”
The only bad defense Iowa had was giving up 25 offensive rebounds, but Miami won second-chance points only 17 to 15 over the Hawkeyes.
“So in the end, it wasn’t that much of an advantage for them,” Bluder said.
Big 6-foot-6 Miami center Shawnice Wilson led the Hurricanes with 15 points and 18 rebounds. All-ACC forward Morgan Stroman had 15 points and eight rebounds.
But the three starting Miami guards were limited, shooting just 2-of-14 combined from 3-point range.
Iowa, meanwhile, hit 5-of-11 from beyond the arc, and Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year Melissa Dixon was there with three big 3s early in the second half.
Down by one to Miami at halftime, 28-27, the Hurricanes fed the ball to Wilson to start the second half for a 6-0 run and led 34-27.
Iowa responded with an 11-1 run, with those three Dixon 3-pointers mixed in.
“We ran our set plays really well,” Dixon said. “They switched on a couple of the screens and allowed me to be open and my teammates made some really good passes.”
Miami retook the lead 41-40 before Iowa put together a 12-0 run, fueled by a Jaime Printy 3-pointer, a 3-point play by Morgan Johnson, and four points from Logic.
The Hurricanes never got closer than eight points after that.
Logic led Iowa with 23 points. It marked just the fourth time the point guard has led Iowa in scoring this season.
But that’s three times now in the past seven games.
“Coach Bluder gets at me a little bit,” Logic said of shooting, not passing. “I really had to focus on that.
“They were so tight on (my teammates), they were really collapsing on everyone else. I happened to be there.”
Coach Meier had warned her team of not letting Logic be a focal point of the Iowa offense.
“When you asked me the key to Iowa and I said Samantha Logic … boy, she must have heard that,” Meier said. “She was phenomenal.”
Dixon finished with 13 points off the bench. Johnson, Taylor and Printy each added four points.
Johnson and Logic each had 11 rebounds.
Miami came in averaging 65.4 points per game, and were held to 53 by Iowa. They had been shooting 38.9 percent from the field, but were just 30 percent Sunday.
“Our transiton defense was good,” Bluder said. “When we have a variety of things to throw at people, it does help, too. I’m just glad that they buy into it.”
Now Iowa has to slow down the Irish, who average 80.8 points per game.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball