ESPN's College GameDay coming to Iowa City for No. 7 Iowa women's basketball vs. No. 2 Indiana
IOWA CITY — Another element has been added to next Sunday’s massive women’s basketball showdown at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
ESPN’s College GameDay will be in Iowa City for the regular-season finale between No. 7 Iowa and No. 2 Indiana on Feb. 26 — a game that could very well decide the Big Ten regular-season title. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. with ESPN televising. This marks the first time the show's college basketball edition has come to Iowa City since debuting in 2005.
"It’s a huge honor, and we are looking forward to showcasing our program on one of the best stages,” said Iowa coach Lisa Bluder in a release.
College GameDay will broadcast live inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena from 10 to 11 a.m. Elle Duncan will host the show alongside commentators Andraya Carter, Rebecca Lobo, Carolyn Peck and Holly Rowe. Duncan also will report live for ESPN's SportsCenter during the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. window. Arena gates open to fans with tickets to the game at 9 a.m. Fans should sit in sections AA-B first and fill in around after that. After the show has concluded, fans may exit the arena and re-enter with the same ticket.
A staple of weekend hoops once the conference schedule is in full swing, College GameDay will be hosting just its fifth show ever at a women's basketball location. Most recently, GameDay was in Thompson-Boling Arena last month for the Connecticut-Tennessee game on Jan. 26. The show has never come to a Big Ten venue for women's basketball until now.
This game has been sold out for several weeks, and for good reason.
Indiana (21-1, 14-1 Big Ten Conference) enters Thursday with a one-game lead on Iowa (21-5, 13-2) atop the Big Ten with a head-to-head victory over the Hawkeyes at Assembly Hall. However, if Iowa wins Saturday at Nebraska and next Tuesday at No. 8 Maryland, the Hawkeyes would enter the Indiana rematch with a chance to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.
Should the Hoosiers stumble before next Sunday, Iowa could potentially have a chance to win the title outright by toppling Indiana.
It’ll also be senior day, which means a strong sendoff for fifth-year all-Big Ten center Monika Czinano. Her final games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena will likely come in the NCAA tournament, where Iowa is projected to host the opening rounds. But Sunday against Indiana will see Czinano honored as one of the best post players in program history.
“I’ve just kind of been taking it day-by-day,” Czinano said after Wednesday’s win over Wisconsin. “I’m honored to have played here and have the opportunity for a fifth year. I’m the type of person that I’m going to look back on (my career) and maybe get emotional. But this is still our season. I don’t have time to be emotional and think about myself.
“Indiana is going to be a great game. A tough competitive game at home. And it happens to be senior night, a small portion on the side. That’s kind of how I’m viewing it. I’m excited. It’s been an honor to play here as long as I have, but we’ve still got work to do.”
College GameDay agrees, which is why it wanted a front-row seat to next Sunday’s action.
Dargan Southard is a sports trending reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.