Iowa was down seven and looking uninspired.
Instead of folding like they had so often this season, the Hawkeyes made a few buckets, forced a few stops and blew past the Hurricanes.
Samantha Logic had 23 points with 11 rebounds and host Iowa beat eighth-seeded Miami 69-53 on Sunday night, snapping a two-game losing streak in the NCAA tournament.
Melissa Dixon added 13 points in the second half for the Hawkeyes (21-12), which will face top-seeded Notre Dame Tuesday night in Iowa City.
The Fighting Irish throttled Tennessee-Martin 97-64 earlier Sunday.
"Logic really was extraordinary. Melissa Dixon was a great spark off the bench for us in the second half," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
Iowa, which at one point this season lost five straight, broke open a stalemate with an 18-3 run to jump ahead 58-44 with 7:07 left.
Miami (21-11), which was up by seven early in the second half, shot just 3 of 19 from 3-point range and 30 percent overall.
Morgan Stroman had 15 points and Shawnice Wilson had 15 points and 18 rebounds for the Hurricanes, who committed 24 turnovers.
"They're composed. The ball means more to them than it does to us. That's a heck of a compliment for them," Miami coach Katie Meier said of Iowa. "Their guards controlled the game."
Neither team could break free for about 27 minutes, which wasn't surprising in a matchup of 8-9 seeds.
The Hawkeyes finally woke up and handled the Hurricanes.
Jaime Printy buried a 3 to put Iowa ahead 45-41, and the Hawkeyes turned Miami over to the delight of their home crowd. Dixon hit three 3s to boost the Hawkeyes, and her layup made it 52-41 Iowa with 10:26 left.
Miami couldn't answer on offense, and Johnson's jumper put Iowa ahead by 14.
"I don't think slipping was in our mind. We had to get some stops and run our sets for (Dixon)," Logic said. "It never really felt like it was slipping away, especially when you have shooters like her on the team."
The Hurricanes and Hawkeyes each had 16 days off between their last game and the NCAA tournament opener.
At points in the first half, it looked like they'd both been off for months.
Miami put up some truly terrible stats in the first half. The Hurricanes shot 2 of 12 from 3-point range, 4 of 10 from the free throw line and turned it over 13 times.
But Miami also owned the boards 32-17 over Iowa, and eight different players scored to help it take a 28-27 lead.
The Hurricanes were outscored 42-25 in the final 20 minutes.
"It was a shockingly poor performance by us on the offensive end, just shockingly poor. We were just clicking and so confident and so great in the time we had off together. I thought we had solved all our issues. So I was just shocked," Meier said.
The Hawkeyes were lost in the first half unless Logic was shooting it. She had 13 points, but her teammates added just four buckets on 20 tries.
Miami looked like it was about to break the stalemate with three quick baskets to start the second half. But Iowa answered right back, tying it at 35-all, and the Hawkeyes kept right on rolling into the second round.
"We have a home game. Hopefully we'll have a great crowd behind us again. We have no expectations, no pressure on us. It's just something to gain from," Logic said.
Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP