Hawkeyes 1 win away from elusive Sweet 16 berth
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) After 15 years at Iowa, coach Lisa Bluder is just a win away from her first trip to the Sweet 16.
But if the Hawkeyes don't play better against Miami than they did against American, their season might end just like the previous 14 have.
Iowa (25-7) will host the 11th-seeded Hurricanes (20-12) on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Miami pulled off an upset Friday when it knocked off Washington 86-80. The Eagles nearly did the same to Iowa, which needed nine 3s to hold off American 75-67.
''It's great to be here. But I don't think it's any secret that we want to go farther; that we would love to be playing next week,'' Bluder said.
Here are some of the key points to consider as the Hawkeyes look for their first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1996.
LOGIC IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS:
Iowa's Samantha Logic showed why she's the leader of the Hawkeyes with another brilliant performance in the win over American. She had 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against just two turnovers, proving why she's the main reason Iowa is in such great position to reach a regional semifinal. ''It's just how you go out and play. So we are not looking at numbers and how good of a chance we have,'' Logic said.
The Hawkeyes had better find a way to slow down Adrienne Motley if they hope to advance to Oklahoma City. Motley has a knack for playing her best in big games, following up a 32-point performance in a win over Notre Dame in January with 30 points in the upset of Washington. ''If we get ourselves in situations where get her teammates move the ball properly and we can get her in what we call downhill a little bit, she's really hard to guard,'' Miami coach Katie Meier said.
Iowa rarely relies on its bench. But it doesn't have to. The Hawkeyes have four starters averaging at least 13 points a game, and Ally Disterhoft scored 18 points and Melissa Dixon had 15 against the Eagles. ''On the offensive end, they can score from anywhere on the floor,'' Miami's Jessica Thomas said. ''They have threats in the post, they have threats on the perimeter, and they have shooters all around the perimeter.''
Iowa is one of just 10 teams to reach eight straight NCAA Tournaments. But the Hawkeyes have lost in the second round seven times since 1997. They were beaten by Notre Dame at home in 2013, and Louisville pounded Iowa 83-53 last year in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is 17-0 at home this season, though.
''Part of the pregame speech, I said, you know, you have the confidence; you have enough big wins, you have the resume. But you also have the pain. You have the pain of some of these losses. You have the pain of a missed box-out. You have the joy of getting an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, and we have won a game that way, too,'' Meier said in reference to freshman Erykah Davenport's crucial late rebound in the win over Washington. ''That was the joy part that we really love. It was a huge play by a freshman.''
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