Two teams that have already lost to Utah this year will play in the first NCAA game tonight at the Huntsman Center with the possibility of getting revenge on the Utes Monday night.
Oregon (17-11) and Iowa (20-9) meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the first NCAA women's game ever played at the University of Utah. The winner meets the winner of the Utah-Fairfield game Monday at 9:30 p.m.
Both the Ducks and Hawkeyes have gone through rough patches this season but enter the game on an upswing.
The Hawkeyes, who were beaten by the Utes 66-42 in Iowa back in November, have reeled off 12 wins in their last 13 games since starting the season 8-8. In their last game on March 4, they crushed No. 7-ranked Purdue 75-50. Meanwhile, the Ducks came back to finish strong with four straight victories after being ranked early in the season.
Iowa has a balanced team led by 6-2 senior Randi Peterson, who averages 12.9 points and 8.9 rebounds, and guard Cara Consuergra, an honorable mention all-American who scores 11.3 points per game.
"We feel like we've been playing pretty well lately," said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder. "We're peaking at the time it's most important."
The Ducks are led by Angelina Wolvert, who tops the team in both scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg).
Oregon is trying to overcome some internal strife as they prepare for the NCAAs. Apparently some of the players haven't appreciated coach Jody Runge's coaching style this season, which led to a stretch where the Ducks lost eight of 10 games.
"This is not what we should be focusing on right now," Runge said. "I've told the team that I'm not mad at them. If I've used motivational techniques that hurt their feelings, I apologize. We'll deal with the rest of it once the season is over."