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Women’s basketball team waits for NCAA brackets

BY MIKE BROWNLEE | MARCH 13, 2009 7:30 AM

Their own beds and home-court advantage are among the many perks that await the Iowa women’s basketball players in the NCAA Tournament.

Three teams will join Iowa inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena March 22 and 24 for first and second round tournament action.

The Hawkeyes find out on March 16 whom they will face.

“It’s an awesome opportunity,” Iowa point guard Kristi Smith said. “There’s nothing like having a home game.”

Iowa forward Wendy Ausdemore said hosting the first two rounds is great for the team and fans.
“I think that will be a huge advantage to be at Carver,” the senior said. “It’s exciting for the Iowa fans. To have the opportunity to watch not only us but other teams from around the nation will be a great experience.”

Iowa will be one of five Big Ten teams in the Big Dance, according to espn.com writer Charlie Creme.
The “Bracketologist” currently has Iowa as a No. 8 seed, taking on Temple in Iowa City in the Berkeley Regional.

Creme projects Ohio State as the highest seeded Big Ten team as a No. 3, followed by Purdue, which is listed as a No. 6. Michigan State (No. 10 seed) and Minnesota (No. 11) are also in Creme’s bracket.
“If the Big Ten does not get five teams in, I’d be surprised,” he said in a conference call. “I think you have a distinct pecking order. Ohio State is the best, and I think Purdue follows. Iowa is third in the pecking order.”

Indiana is part of Creme’s “First Four Out,” and the Gophers are among the “Last Four In.” He has Iowa State as a No. 4 seed, playing in the Trenton Regional.

When asked if she had an eye on Creme’s work, Ausdemore admitted to taking a peek.

“I looked at it a couple of times, but not in a while,” the Neola native said. “I guess the big thing is we know we’re in, we just have to wait it out and see what happens on Monday.”

The Big Ten had four teams in last season’s NCAA Tournament and had a poor showing as a conference. The Buckeyes, Hawkeyes, and Golden Gophers were all bounced in the first round. Ohio State, which was a No. 6 seed, was upset by No. 11 seed Florida State, 60-49. Purdue advanced to the second round before being defeated by eventual champion Tennessee, 78-52. Iowa lost to Georgia, 67-60, during first-round play in Norfolk, Va. The Hawkeyes were a No. 9 seed; Georgia was a No. 8.

“Every year, this conference is competitive,” Smith said. “In nonconference games, we have to beat teams and show them that we can compete.”

Tourney Outlook

No. 1 Connecticut enters March Madness as the overwhelming favorites to win the NCAA title. The Huskies (33-0) are having one of the best seasons in NCAA history, and they just finished up winning the Big East Tournament championship game, 75-36, over Louisville. UConn’s average margin of victory is 31 points, with no team coming within single digits.


Lisa Bluder and the Iowa Hawkeyes will play at home for the first and (possibly) second rounds of the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament, and The Daily Iowan will cover all the action from inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Be sure to visit dailyiowan.com on March 16 for reaction as the Hawkeyes find out which teams will stand in the way of a trip to the Sweet 16 and again on March 21 for previews on all four teams in the bracket, including Iowa.

Then be sure to follow our first-round coverage of both games on March 22 and second-round coverage on March 24 from inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which will include video reaction from Iowa players and coaches, as well as exclusive photo slide shows from all three tournament contests.


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