Iowa will be on the outside looking in when the state’s three other Division I women’s basketball programs begin play later this week in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hawkeyes do have a postseason tourney to participate in – Iowa will host Missouri State (16-14) in the WNIT on Thursday at 7 p.m. -- while Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa will all continue their seasons as part of the 64-team NCAA field.
The Cyclones were awarded a number nine seed and assigned to a sub-regional at Storrs, Connecticut, where ISU makes its 10th NCAA appearance in the last 11 years under coach Bill Fennelly.
Iowa State (18-12) opens Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with a game against eighth-seeded Syracuse (21-10) with Connecticut and its current 107-game win streak on the horizon as a potential second-round match-up.
In awarding the Missouri Valley Conference multiple qualifiers for the first time since 2013, Drake and UNI were both awarded 10 seeds by the selection committee.
The Bulldogs (28-4) will take their 22-game win streak to seventh-seeded Kansas State (22-10) for a 3 p.m. Saturday contest on the Wildcats’ home court, a game played in Manhattan, Kansas, because likely second-round opponent and second-seeded Stanford was unable to play at home this weekend.
The Panthers (24-8) travel to Starkville, Mississippi, for their first NCAA game since 2011 where they will face seventh-seeded DePaul (26-7) in an 11 a.m. Friday opening-round game hosted by second-seeded Mississippi State.
Summit League champion Western Illinois (26-6) will face an opponent on its home court as well, awarded a 14 seed and Friday opening-round game at third-seeded Florida State (25-6) beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Despite wins over both Iowa State and Northern Iowa this season, costly losses leave the Hawkeyes (17-13) getting set for their second straight WNIT appearance and their fourth overall in the event, all during coach Lisa Bluder’s 18 seasons.
Iowa’s RPI on Monday stood at 64 and its strength of schedule was rated as the 21st best in the country, but that wasn’t enough for a 17-13 team which tied for eighth in the Big Ten and bounced out of the Big Ten tourney in its first game.
The Hawkeyes enter the WNIT with senior Ally Disterhoft needing 20 points to become the program’s career scoring leader. The starting time for Iowa’s game will be announced today.
Only four Big Ten teams, third-seeded Maryland, fifth-seeded Ohio State and ninth-seeded Purdue and Michigan State, were selected to the NCAA field. Michigan, Indiana and Penn State join the Hawkeyes in the WNIT.