Headed West

The Iowa women received a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament as an at-large. The Hawkeyes will face Gonzaga in Spokane.

Iowa CITY, IOWA -- The University of Iowa women's basketball team has received an at-large berth into the NCAA Women's Basketball Championships. The Hawkeyes (22-8) are a No. 6 seed and will play No. 11 seed Gonzaga (28-4) in Spokane, Wash., at the McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga's home facility. First round action will begin Saturday at 3 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised live on ESPN2.

This marks Iowa's 20th trip to the NCAA Tournament. Head Coach Lisa Bluder has led the Hawkeyes to eight NCAA Tournament appearances in her 11 years at Iowa, including each of the last four years.

The No. 6 seed is Iowa's highest NCAA Tournament seed since 2001, when the Hawkeyes entered the tournament as a No. 4 seed in Bluder's first year at Iowa.

Gonzaga is ranked 19th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and 20th in the Associated Press poll. The Bulldogs won both the West Coast Conference regular season and conference tournament championship. Gonzaga has won 18-straight games, with its last loss coming at Notre Dame Dec. 29 (70-61). The Bulldogs are 13-1 this season on their home court, the only loss coming to second-ranked Stanford (84-78).

Gonzaga averages 86.1 points per game and holds a +25.2 scoring margin. The Bulldogs are led by senior All-American candidate Courtney Vandersloot, who is the three-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year. She currently leads the nation in assists per game for the second-straight season at 10.2 per game and is also first in assists-to-turnover ratio at 3.34. She is the team's leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, with three other players averaging double figures.

Iowa holds a 1-0 lead in the all-time series. The two teams met during the 2001-02 season at the Great Alaska Shootout, with Iowa defeating Gonzaga, 69-54.

Iowa is a No. 6 seed for just the second time in program history. The Hawkeyes advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed in 1991, defeating Montana in the first round before losing to Washington in the second round in Seattle. Iowa's game versus Washington was in Seattle is the only other time the Hawkeyes have played an NCAA Tournament game in the state of Washington.

The Spokane, Wash., first/second round site is a part of the Spokane Regional. No. 3 seed UCLA will take on No. 14 seed Montana 30 minutes after Iowa's game vs. Gonzaga (approximately 5:30 p.m. CT). The two winners will meet in the second round Monday at a time to be determined.


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