Neutral sites don’t exist in the women’s NCAA Tournament.
Out of the 16 tournament sites, 13 hosts — including Iowa — advanced to the second round and will be playing on their home floor for a chance to earn a berth in the Sweet 16.
The Hawkeyes match up with Louisville at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Although not listed as an official road game, the Cardinals will step onto the hardwood with decidedly more fans in black and gold than red and white.
But that’s the way the setup is, at least for now.
“I hope before I’m finished coaching that our game can grow to the point to where (the first and second round games) can all be on neutral sites. That’s what’s best for the game,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “But unfortunately right now we can’t do that. You can even look at some of the games that have been played on home courts in our tournament, and the attendance has not been great.
“When I’m looking at it on TV, it’s sad that we can’t get more fans to come out and watch these young ladies play basketball.”
Sunday’s game between host school Iowa, a six seed, and 11-seeded Marist drew 5,799 fans, more than Carver-Hawkeye’s regular season average of 4,400.
LOGIC VS. SCHIMMEL: Two of the nation’s best will matchup Tuesday as Iowa takes on Louisville for a berth in the Sweet 16: Samantha Logic and Shoni Schimmel. Both were named to the first team in their respective conferences. Logic averages nearly a triple double, while Schimmel leads the Cardinals at 16.8 points per game.
Logic is looking forward to the opportunity.
“It’s exciting. She’s a great player, great scorer, and leads her team well,” Logic said. “It’ll be an exciting game.”
GET YOUR ICE CREAM: One of Carver-Hawkeye’s more understated traditions is the soft serve ice cream available throughout a few locations on the concourse.
Even Walz knows about it, when referring to the game environment — part serious, part in jest.
“The crowd was fantastic (Sunday) night,” Walz said. “Very loud, knowledgeable fans. They know when to cheer. They’re not here just enjoying a ballgame. The one thing I hear over and over is that the ice cream cones are fantastic here. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a chance to get one.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball