Iowa women face Purdue-Fort Wayne on Friday in Florida
Games is part of Clean Simple Eats Gulf Coast Showcase
By Susan Harman
The Iowa women’s basketball team left for three games in three days in sunny Estero, Fla., as part of the Clean Simple Eats Gulf Coast Showcase.
The tournament has two brackets, with Iowa headlining the bracket including Purdue-Fort Wayne, Delaware and Florida Gulf Coast. North Carolina, Kansas State, Vermont and Western Kentucky are in the other bracket. Iowa begins play Friday night at 6:30 p.m. (Iowa time) against Purdue-Fort Wayne (2-1).
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said the format is good preparation for the Big Ten tournament’s everyday requirements for those who advance.
The Mastodons (yes) lost at Michigan 80-61 and won at Southern Illinois in overtime. They are in the Horizon League, and their best player is 6-foot grad guard/forward Shayla Sellers, the sister of Maryland star Shyanne Sellers.”
“I think they’re really scrappy,” Bluder said. “Obviously we’ve got a little bit of a height advantage. But in my mind it’s a game we should win if we go in there and play our best. But they are going to be scrappy.”
If Iowa wins it plays the winner between Florida Gulf Coast and Delaware on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The championship is on Sunday at 6:30.
The North Carolina-KSU winner is likely to face Iowa if things go according to Bluder’s plan, and that raises the interesting possibility of playing K-State 10 days later.
“We can’t worry about that yet,” Bluder said. “It would be pretty unusual but I don’t know if I mind this one. But saying that, they really are a good defensive team and pose a lot of problems with Ayoka Lee inside.”
North Carolina (4-0) isn’t exactly chopped liver, but the Heels haven’t played a great schedule yet. Davidson was their only challenging game so far, so they are harder to evaluate.
Bluder is two victories away from her 500th as the Hawkeye coach. Bluder has won more than 850 games total as a college coach at St. Ambrose, Drake and Iowa.
“It will be special for me because I love this place and this place has been good to me,” Bluder said. “I hope I’ve been good for it.”
The games will be streamed by Flohoops.com and will be available on the Hawkeye Radio Network.