The 1986 Hawkeyes opened with three shutouts in a four-win streak to start the season, and then a loss and a tie in their next two games brought their record to 4-1-1. They answered with six consecutive shutouts and a streak that lasted almost 450 minutes. Iowa added two more wins to move to 12-1-1. A loss to Northwestern halted the streak, but for more wins closed out the regular season and the Hawkeyes had put together a 16-2-1 regular season that included a 9-1 slate in the Big 10 that earned them the regular season title, beating four teams headed to the tournament. Behind All-Americans Karen Napolitano, RosAnna Salcido, Michelle Murgatroyd, Deb Robertson and Liz Tchou, Iowa earned a bye in the first round and faced rival Northwestern in the quarterfinals for the third time that season. A victory over Penn State in the semis put Iowa in their first title game in school history, and the next day the Hawkeyes claimed their first title with a gutsy overtime victory over New Hampshire in double overtime.
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