By Ryan Murken
IOWA CITY, Iowa - There was no NCAA Tournament bubble drama for the Iowa women’s basketball team this season.
After narrowly missing the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons Iowa didn’t have to sweat out its return to the field of 64 on Monday.
Iowa (24-7) earned a No. 6 seed in its return to the NCAA tournament and will face No. 11 seed Creighton (18-12) in Los Angeles on Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Hawkeyes are making their 25th NCAA appearance and 13th under head coach Lisa Bluder but first since 2015 after back-to-back trips to the WNIT the past two seasons.
In its last NCAA tournament trip in 2015 Iowa advanced to the sweet 16 for the first time since 1996 and first time under Bluder.
The past two seasons selection Monday has been a stressful time with a disappointing ending for the Hawkeyes.
This season the Hawkeyes were solidly in the field and only had to await the when and where they would be playing.
Iowa still had to do some waiting on during Monday’s NCAA selection show on ESPN before it was revealed the Hawkeyes would be facing a Creighton team in the opening round that is making its second straight NCAA tournament appearance.
The Bluejays were a seven seed last season and defeated Toledo in the opening round before falling to second-seeded Oregon State.
Creighton is led by Audrey Faber, a 6-foot-2 West Des Moines Dowling graduate that averages 14.8 points per game.
Iowa is led Big Ten Player of the Year Megan Gustafson who is the only player in the country averaging 25 or more points and 12 or more rebounds per game.
A junior center, Gustafson leads the nation in scoring at 25.6 points per game and field goal percentage (66.8%) and is second in double-doubles (27) and fifth in rebounds (12.7).
If Iowa can get past Creighton in the opening round it would face the winner of third-seeded UCLA (24-7) and No. 14 seed American (26-6) on Monday.
UCLA has reached the Sweet 16 each of the past two seasons.
Mississippi State (32-1) is the top seed in the Kansas City region.