IOWA CITY -- This isn't Marist's first dance.
And if you're expecting a timid mid-major as first-round fodder for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NCAA women's basketball tournament, think again.
Coach Brian Giorgis, who is leading Marist to its ninth straight NCAA, called the Hawkeyes “a very solid team, but a very beatable team" in a story by the Poughskeepie (N.Y.) Journal.
“They’re very much like us. They’re very balanced in scoring."
Tipoff is 7 p.m. Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Marist (27-6) qualified automatically by capturing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title, its ninth straight. The Red Foxes have five NCAA tournament victories under its belt since 2007. Iowa has two -- 2010 over Rutgers, 2013 over Miami (Fla.).
The Hawkeyes (26-8) didn't have much knowledge on the Red Foxes at Selection Monday. Junior center Bethany Doolittle offered this:
"I know of Sydney Coffey; she's the sister of (Northwestern's) Nia Coffey," she said.
Coffey and Doolittle both are from Minnesota.
The vast majority of the Marist lineup is from New England.
“I’ve never been to Iowa," Connecticut native Casey Dulin told The Journal. "I’m excited. I’ve heard they’re a good team, a lot like us. They’ll have the home-court advantage — that will be tough — but I think we’re ready to battle.”
Both teams have five players averaging in double figures.
The matinee game Sunday -- 4:30 p.m. -- features fourth-rated Louisville (30-4) against Idaho (25-8).
Louisville was the national runner-up last year.
Sunday's winners advance to Tuesday's second-round game, with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. The Hawkeyes were careful with their words, not looking ahead to the challenge that Louisville brings.
"We're really excited for this opportunity," said freshman Ally Disterhoft. "Obviously, Louisville is a great team. But it's March, and you never know what's going to happen. We can't look past the first one."
The Red Foxes speak the same language.“People are looking forward to us playing Louisville (in the second round),” Marist's Leanne Ockenden told The Journal. "But we have to take Iowa down first because anything can happen, and we’re going to take it one game at a time.”