Louisville is seven hours away. Idaho is 24 hours away. The Iowa women’s basketball team’s first round opponent, Marist, is nearly 16 hours away.
As the NCAA Tournament begins this weekend, those three schools have traveled far and wide to get to Iowa City. The Hawkeyes haven’t at all, being a first- and second-round host in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
And that matters.
“It still feels like home,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said Saturday. “I was just cleaning my kitchen an hour ago, so it definitely feels like home to me. … It’s still our locker room, our court, our lighting. It’s very familiar.
“I think there’s absolutely an advantage to being able to play at home. How much, I don’t know. But we didn’t have to travel. We get the comfort of our own beds, we hopefully will have a few more fans in the stands than the other opponents. More than anything, it’s a comfort level.”
Six-seeded Iowa (26-8) takes on No. 11 Marist (27-6) on Sunday following third-seeded Louisville (30-4) and 13-seeded Idaho (25-8).
The four teams have the most combined wins of any of the 16 tournament sites.
Bluder joked Iowa is better off not playing one of the teams from the Louisville-Idaho contest right away Sunday.
“I guess it’s good we’re not playing against Idaho first because corn or potatoes, right? How many times do you get that mixed up? It’s really a good thing we’re not playing against them first,” Bluder said.
HIGH SCORING: The more points, the better. At least that’s what Samantha Logic thinks. The junior point guard knows Iowa succeeds in transition, scoring as quickly and as often as possible. The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten and are 23rd nationally in scoring at 78.8 points per game.
All five starters average double figures.
“Up-tempo scoring is how we want to play,” Logic said. “We want to get the ball down the floor, spread the floor. We’re so happy to keep playing together. We’re going to do whatever we can to keep that going.”
NEW KICKS: Iowa is debuting a new shoe for Sunday’s first round game with each player displaying their own pair of bright gold Nikes.
The team got the shoes Thursday, so they’ve had the opportunity to get used to them in practice this week.
“I’m a fan,” freshman Ally Disterhoft said. “At first they hurt my toes a little bit, but we’ve broken them in. They’re a little flashy, but hey, we go with it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball