Hawkeyes react to going to the Elite Eight

Iowa will face No. 1 seed Baylor in the Elite Eight on April 1, but the Hawkeyes reflected on their Sweet 16 victory over NC State first.

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Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle looks to pass the ball during the NCAA Sweet Sixteen game against NC State at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Saturday, March 30, 2019. The Hawkeyes lead the Wolfpack 37-24 at half.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

GREENSBORO, North Carolina — The Iowa women’s basketball team knew before the game was over that it would be headed to the Elite Eight.

The Hawkeyes swarmed to a 79-61 win over NC State to do so, and the coaches and players were unsurprisingly excited to take Iowa to its first Elite Eight since 1993.

Head coach Lisa Bluder

“You always want to take your program as high as you can and make it as good as you can, and this certainly was a step for us. We had not as a coaching staff been to an Elite Eight, so it was really important to us, and it was important to our players. It’s the first team that’s ever had 29 wins in a season since [1993] as well. At one point in that year, they also went to the Final Four.”

Guard Kathleen Doyle

“[The Elite Eight] sounds pretty darn good. It’s so exciting. We work so hard all year, and it’s paying off at the right time. I wouldn’t want to do it with another group of girls. We’re peaking at the right time.”

Guard Makenzie Meyer

“It was surreal, magical. We have so much confidence in each other and really high expectations for our team. We were expecting to win [this] game. We expect to just keep rolling through the tournament, but it’s nice to take a step back and really soak it in and enjoy what we’ve done this season.”

Guard Tania Davis

“When I came out of the game with two or three minutes left, [I knew we had it]. I try not to think about that because I’ve watched basketball and seen some crazy things happen. It feels amazing. It’s like a dream come true. It’s everything I’ve worked for as a little kid and going through rehab here at Iowa, it’s everything I’ve wanted in my college journey. To be going to the Elite Eight with this group and this coaching staff is nothing short of amazing.”

Forward Megan Gustafson

“We’re so excited to be at this point. I’m just proud of our heart, we played with so much of that. We played together as a team, as a family. NC State is a great team. Credit to them, they fought hard, but I’m just so excited to keep playing. Especially as a senior, and the best part is we’re not done yet.”

Associate head coach Jan Jensen

“It’s so euphoric. We’ve finally gotten to the point [as a coaching staff] career where we can challenge, but the Elite Eight? That’s like a dream come true. I think the thing I thought about, especially before the game started, is there are so many great coaches that deserve to get here. I just feel so blessed. It’s such an amazing moment because its hard to do. It’s hard to do once in your career. I’m so grateful, and I know the rest of the coaching staff feels that way. But just the utter euphoria, because this is what you dream of.”

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