There will be no shortage of connections when the St. Ambrose women's basketball team plays an exhibition game at Iowa on Nov. 9.
"Given (Hawkeye coach) Lisa Bluder's ties to St. Ambrose, with (all-Big Ten guard) Samantha Logic there and her sister Brette getting ready for her sophomore year with us, the timing just seemed right," Queen Bees coach Krista Van Hauen said. "It will be an exciting day for a lot of people."
Iowa announced the game when it unveiled its non-conference schedule Wednesday morning.
The exhibition match-up pairs Bluder's Hawkeyes against the institution which was the first stop in her coaching career.
Bluder led the Queen Bees to an NAIA No. 1 national ranking during her tenure from 1984-90 before she left for 10 seasons at Drake where she worked before taking over the Iowa program.
"She built our program and we are excited about the opportunity to give our players the chance to experience what it is like to compete in that type of venue," Van Hauen said. "It should prepare us for competing in our own national tourney."
The exhibition will be the first against an NCAA Division I team for St. Ambrose since playing at Indiana at the start of the 2011-12 season.
"Even though we go into these games knowing that we probably aren't going to win, it's good for us to compete against bigger and faster athletes like that to prepare us for our season," Van Hauen said.
While the exhibition will be the opener for Iowa -- five days before the Hawkeyes open the regular season at home against USC-Upstate -- St. Ambrose will have at least one regular-season game in the books by that time.
The Queen Bees return three starters and all but one reserve from a 26-6 team which finished unbeaten in the Midwest Collegiate Conference, winning both the regular season and postseason tourney titles to reach the NAIA Division II national tourney.
Iowa returns 10 letter winners from a 27-9 team which reached the NCAA tourney for the seventh straight season.
In addition to hosting St. Ambrose, the Hawkeyes host Northern Iowa on Nov. 25, Iowa State on Dec. 11 and host Pepperdine, Dayton and Tennessee-Martin in the Hawkeye Challenge on Nov. 20-21.