Iowa women's basketball: Hawkeyes to face defending champ Notre Dame in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

With the Iowa women’s basketball team expected to be — at a minimum — a preseason top-20 team, the Hawkeyes will receive a nice early test on the 2018 schedule.

Iowa will travel to defending champion Notre Dame on Nov. 29 as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the league office announced Monday. The Fighting Irish defeated Mississippi State on Arike Ogunbowale’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the 2018 national title.

Iowa's Kathleen Doyle listens to head coach Lisa Bluder during the Hawkeyes' game against Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

Quality foes are nothing new for Iowa in the challenge. The Hawkeyes hosted eventual No. 3 seed Florida State last season. The Fighting Irish, ranked No. 1 at the time, also came to Carver-Hawkeye Arena as part of the 2016 challenge.

Iowa’s nonconference schedule is starting to take shape. It was also announced last month that the Hawkeyes will compete in the 2018 Junkanoo Jam.

The Bahamas tournament will have two divisions: Iowa, Eastern Kentucky, Florida State and West Virginia make up the Bimini Division, while Clemson, Oklahoma, Tennessee and UAB represent the Junkanoo Division. Each division will crown a champion.

The Hawkyes’ conference foes and locations were announced in April.

Next season’s team will carry high expectations. Iowa returns all but one key contributor, including standout forward Megan Gustafson. ESPN’s Charlie Creme had the Hawkeyes 17th in his “Way Too Early” top 25 for 2018-19.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for The Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.