IOWA CITY – The way Katie Meier sees it, the Miami Hurricanes take a double-digit deficit to Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend.
“Unfortunately, we have to have the mentality of playing on someone’s home court,” the Hurricanes’ head coach said to the Miami Herald after the NCAA women’s basketball tournament pairings were released Monday night.
“That is just part of the women’s game and driving attendance and peak interest. We’ve done it before and we’re going to have to do it again. They’re sleeping in their own beds and we have to be 10 points better than Iowa before we leave Coral Gables.”
Iowa (20-12) hosts Miami (21-10) in a first-round game at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
“One of my biggest goals was to get to an NCAA Tournament my last year here and we did it,” said Miami senior Morgan Stroman said on the UM athletics web site.
Top-seeded Notre Dame (31-1) meets Tennessee-Martin (19-14) in the first game, 4 p.m. Sunday.
The winners play at 8:30 Tuesday night.
Notre Dame is the only No. 1 seed not playing on its home floor.
“All the No. 1 seeds are really, really good so any little help we can get is good,” Miami’s Stefanie Yderstrom said. “I think we have a chance, but first we have to focus on Iowa.”
That’s the same approach the Hawkeyes are taking. With the first game a coin-flip encounter, that’s the wise mentality.
“Notre Dame would be a great potential opportunity,” said Iowa guard Samantha Logic. “Nothing to lose against the No. 2(-ranked) team. But we need to have 100-percent focus on Miami.”
Miami finished in a fourth-place tie in the ACC. Iowa placed seventh in the Big Ten. The Hurricanes do have signature wins over fifth-ranked Duke and No. 8 Penn State, the regular-season champions of the ACC and Big Ten.
When the teams tip it off Sunday, it will be the first game for each since March 8.
“We’ve been running and getting back into our best shape, getting our legs back under us,” Stroman said. “Now we can focus on playing Iowa. We have to go out there and be aggressive and do what we have to do to win.”
Meier said, “I am expecting Iowa’s best game and I know they’re going to get ours.”
For three Iowa seniors, their Carver careers will end Sunday or Tuesday.
“The opportunity to play Carver one or two more times is the greatest thing,” said center Morgan Johnson. “I expect two more great games. We’re not done yet.”