IOWA CITY — Lisa Bluder spoke, and her players nodded.
“I’d really like the opportunity to play Indiana again,” she said.
The Big Ten women’s basketball tournament brackets were released moments after 11th-ranked Iowa finished its regular season with a 74-50 win over Northwestern on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes (23-6) earned the No. 2 seed with a 14-4 league record. They finished one game behind Maryland (26-3, 15-3), the outright champion.
Iowa faces the winner of Minnesota (20-9, 9-9, No. 7 seed) and Indiana (19-11, 8-10, No. 10 seed) in the quarterfinal round at 5:30 p.m. (Iowa time) Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
The Gophers and the Hoosiers play in a second-round game Thursday.
Iowa certainly has incentive to play Indiana. The Hawkeyes were tied for the Big Ten lead after Iowa beat the Terrapins here Feb. 17.
But Indiana crashed the Hawkeyes’ title hopes four days later at Bloomington, 75-73, and Maryland won out to earn the championship.
The first round — consisting of the 11th through 14 seeds — is Wednesday. The 5 through 10 seeds join the party Thursday, then the top four (Maryland, Iowa, Rutgers and Michigan) open with quarterfinal games Friday.
“We’ll go out Thursday, watch a little of (the Minnesota-Indiana game), then do our scout at 8:30 Thursday night,” Bluder said.
The Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota, 81-63, Jan. 14 at Minneapolis.
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If Iowa wins Friday, it will play its semifinal at 6:30 p.m. (Iowa time) Saturday. The championship is 5 p.m. Sunday.
Regardless of their showing in Indianapolis, the Hawkeyes probably have locked up home-court advantage for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa is 15-0 this season at Carver.
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