Iowa earns a 1-seed for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament

Iowa Secures Coveted 1-Seed Position in NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

In Iowa City, excitement filled the air as Kate Martin and Caitlin Clark, along with their team, celebrated a monumental achievement at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They had just secured the No. 1 seed for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, a moment captured during a watch party. This marked a significant milestone, being only the third time in history—and the first in over three decades—that the Iowa Hawkeyes claimed this top spot.

The anticipation was palpable. Kate Martin shared how the reveal of their No. 1 seed sent a rush of adrenaline through her, compelling her to leap into the air in joy. This achievement wasn’t just a number; it was a testament to the team’s hard work and dedication, positioning them among the elite in American women’s basketball, as noted by Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder.

The Hawkeyes found themselves leading the Albany-2 Region, dubbed “Murderers’ Row” by ESPN analyst Carolyn Peck, due to the fierce competition within, including eight of the top 25 teams from the most recent Associated Press poll. Among these contenders were notable teams like UCLA and the defending national champion LSU, setting the stage for an intense tournament.

As the tournament approached, the Hawkeyes prepared to face either Holy Cross or Tennessee-Martin in the first round. This initial matchup was part of a broader journey that could potentially lead them through challenging rounds, with the ultimate goal of advancing to the Sweet 16 at MVP Arena in Albany.

The team, rich in experience, had seen the highs of reaching national finals and the lows of early exits, such as their second-round loss to Creighton in 2022. Their history included a memorable run as a 1-seed in 1988, reaching the Elite Eight, and a surprising second-round departure in 1992. Now, making their 30th NCAA appearance and sixth consecutive, the Hawkeyes aimed to leverage their Big Ten tournament victory and the momentum of their regular season to make a deep run in the tournament.

The excitement extended beyond the team to the fans, with tickets for the games at Carver sold out, showcasing the community’s support. The tournament’s overall No. 1 seed went to South Carolina, with Iowa, USC, and Texas also securing top seeds, highlighting the competitive landscape of this year’s tournament.

After a brief rest following their Big Ten tournament win, the Hawkeyes were back to practice, fully focused on the challenge ahead. Concerns lingered over senior guard Molly Davis’s condition, but the team’s spirit remained undeterred, ready to embark on their tournament journey.

Holy Cross and UT-Martin, each fighting for their spot, added to the tournament’s intrigue, with Holy Cross securing their place by winning the Patriot League tournament final. Despite UT-Martin’s runner-up position in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, they received an automatic bid, adding another layer of competition to the mix.

Iowa wasn’t the only state team in the spotlight, with Iowa State and Drake also making their marks in the tournament, showcasing the state’s strong representation in women’s basketball. As the tournament progressed, the anticipation and excitement only grew, with each team aiming to leave their mark on this year’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament.