Hawkeyes dialed in for first game after early exit in the 2022 NCAA Tournament

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:41 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Fresh off winning the Big Ten Tournament title, the Iowa women’s basketball teams enter the NCAA Tournament on a hot streak, winning 7 of their last 8 games.

But, they haven’t forgotten what happened inside Carver Hawkeye Arena just a season ago in this tournament. The Hawks were bounced by Creighton in the second round, while the Bluejays made it all the way to the Elite Eight.

“I think it’s the elephant in the room. We don’t really bring it up, but we know we don’t want to feel that pain and just how we felt last year after that game was over,” senior guard Gabbie Marshall said.

“Anybody who steps in to Carver wants to have their best game, so take nothing for granted, Don’t overlook anybody. You can’t take care of your next step if you don’t take care of the first game,” redshirt senior guard Kate Martin said.

It’s been 10 days since they last played and the Hawkeyes are simply ready to get back at it.

“We did get to rest our bodies a little bit. We know we might have a lot of games coming up back to back, so it’s obviously good to be able to rest your legs. At the same time, we just want to go out there and play already,” senior guard Molly Davis said.

“Collectively in the locker room, there’s just a sense of being dialed in that maybe there hasn’t been in other seasons. I just think everyone is just chomping at the bit to get out there and play,” fifth year center Monika Czinano added.

Home court advantage will surely play a factor for Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 15-1 on the season when playing at home. Tickets for the first two rounds sold out in less than an hour, four days ahead of their first game.

“I was told tickets were all in their carts in 13 minutes and then processed within 50 minutes of them being available. I know season ticket holders had earlier access and there was already 10,000 gone. I think it just shows the excitement in our community about women’s basketball and that’s the excitement that it could be like that all around the country,” junior guard Caitlin Clark said.

Iowa is a heavy favorite by experts to make a deep run. Head coach Lisa Bluder hopes to potentially be that Big Ten team that ends the drought for the conference, who hasn’t reach a Final Four since 2015.

“I think now we have teams, a, good enough to be there, and b, maybe a path to get there,” Bluder said.