It’s been quite a while since Iowa women’s basketball has been to the Final Four. How long? Well, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was the top song on the charts 30 years ago. Fast forward to today, the Hawkeyes just want to win this for their head coach who has been through thick and thin for 23 years.
“Obviously we want to do it for Coach Bluder,” Gabbie Marshall told me. “What she’s built here. It’s just amazing the culture that she’s built, playing for her. It’s been such an honor. I think the five of us we want to get there for ourselves but also for her, and I think that’s what makes it that much more special.”
In 23 years at the helm, Lisa Bluder had been to one Elite Eight in 23 years before this season. Along her side? Associate head coach Jan Jensen, who has been with her every step of the way.
“I would love it so much for Lisa Bluder because she is so one of the good ones in it,” the Hawkeyes’ 19th year associate head coach told me. “She just has had a career that has started out driving the bus and got in it for all the right reasons — has stayed in it for all the right reasons. As her co worker and her best friend — or one of her best friends — that would be awesome.”
“It’s kind an interpersonal goal for our team for a long time,” Lisa Bluder said. “And you just want to take your team to greatness, right? I mean, that’s what you strive for every single year is to be the best you can be and, you know, for us that means that we want to get there and it would mean a lot.”
The only thing standing in the way between Iowa and Dallas is a Louisville team they’re favored against by nearly six points. If they get the job done, they’ll be in the Final Four for the first time in 30 years.
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