STANFORD, Calif. -- C. Vivian Stringer kept saying she didn't want to face Iowa in the first round of the NCAA tournament -- or at all for that matter. Rutgers' fiery coach built the Hawkeyes into a national powerhouse more than two decades ago, then watched them send her team home.
Kamille Wahlin shook off a slow start and scored nine straight points in a 2 1/2-minute span late on the way to 15, and eighth-seeded Iowa denied Stringer a victory over her old school with a 70-63 win in the first round of the Sacramento Regional on Saturday night.
The Hawkeyes advance to play No.1 seed Stanford Monday.
"It's always tough this time of the year, especially getting bounced in the first round. We haven't been bounced like this for a long time," said Stringer, whose team had reached five straight regionals. "If we had to lose to someone, there is nobody I'd rather lose to than the Iowa Hawkeyes. We played hard but they were just better. They played better than a No. 8 seed. They wore us out. They got it done. It was as simple as that."
Kachine Alexander had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Jaime Printy added 15 points in Iowa's first NCAA tournament victory since 2002. The Hawkeyes (20-13) knocked down 10 3-pointers, three each by Wahlin and Printy, and overcame 18 turnovers.
Stringer coached Iowa from 1983-95 and took the school to its only Final Four in '93. Current Iowa coach Lisa Bluder beat Stringer for the first time in six tries, a streak that included Stringer's 3-0 mark while she was at Iowa and Bluder at Drake.
"I've been up against coach Stringer a few times and it does feel good to finally get that little monkey off our back," Bluder said. "We took over a program that she established and when you can beat someone you admire so much, it does feel special."
Brittany Ray scored 15 points and Chelsey Lee 14 to lead the Scarlet Knights (19-15), whose inconsistent season made them a bubble team to even receive a tournament berth.
Rutgers won four of its last five to receive an at-large invitation after losing in the Big East tournament to West Virginia, but couldn't do enough right down the stretch in this game despite a strong second-half start.
"When we were actually picking up the pressure we did a good job and got some steals," forward Myia McCurdy said. "But we weren't able to convert. We'd do something crazy. The stuff we went over and over in practice, the stuff that coach Stringer drilled into us, we just didn't do in the game."
Iowa committed six turnovers in the first 6:05 of the second half and Rutgers made 8 of its first 13 shots to gain momentum, hitting the floor for loose balls and crashing the offensive boards to create second chances.
But the Hawkeyes weren't about to experience a repeat of their heartbreaking 66-64 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament title game, when they blew a big lead. They held a 39-29 rebounding advantage and shot 50 percent in the second half.
"[Our growth] showed tonight," Alexander said. "We had to stick together and stay together wen Rutgers had their run. We kept our composure."
Ray's 3-pointer with 1:25 left pulled the Scarlet Knights within 65-61, yet Wahlin and Co. came up with all the key plays when it mattered most.
After missing her only three shots in the first half, Wahlin finally found her groove. Her 3-pointer with 5:23 remaining started her run of nine straight points -- a stretch also featuring a three-point play and another 3. Iowa shot 10 for 23 from long range and Kelly Krei and Alexander had two 3s apiece.
"I was a little disappointed in how I played in the first half so I pitched it and came out in the second half and tried to get on a roll," Wahlin said. "We just kept playing within ourselves and looked for each other."