IOWA CITY — When Kenny Brooks was informed that Virginia Tech had been selected to play Iowa in an early-season women’s basketball showdown, he had his reservations.
“My initial thought was that I didn’t want to play Iowa in the second game of the season,” said Brooks, the Hokies’ head coach. “To play such a high-level team so early, it goes against everything I wanted to do.
“But this was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.”
Half of last year’s Final Four combatants, No. 3 Iowa (1-0) and No. 8 Virginia Tech (1-0) collide in the Ally Tipoff on Thursday at Spectrum Arena in Charlotte, NC
Tipoff is 7 pm (Iowa time) in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.
“Every game is fun for us,” Iowa’s Kate Martin said. “But a top-10 matchup, are you kidding me?”
Gabbie Marshall added, “As a competitor, these are the games you want to play, and live for. It’s going to be a great game and great environment.”
Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder was informed in June that her squad had been selected.
“I was excited about this opportunity. We committed before we knew the opponent,” she said. “They had North Carolina State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech as options.
“I think we got the best of opponents when they signed Virginia Tech. It’s one of the premier match-ups of the non-conference season.”
Match-ups of teams. And individuals.
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (the reigning national player of the year) and Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley (a 6-foot-6 All-America post) obviously won’t guard each other, but are two of the very best in America at their respective crafts .
“Caitlin Clark is the Steph Curry of women’s basketball,” Brooks said. “Maybe Steph Curry is the Caitlin Clark of the NBA.
“She’s too talented to shut down.”
In Iowa’s 102-46 season-opening win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday, Clark posted his usual, but typical numbers: 28 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists.
Kitley was 12-for-17 from the field in a 27-point, 11-rebound performance as the Hokies beat High Point, 94-55, Monday.
“Super hard to guard,” Bluder said. “Her step-back fadeaway is hard to defend.
“You can be right there on her, and she creates room with her step-back.”
And with that, “we’re going to need to be physical,” Martin said. “I believe in our posts. Hannah (Stuelke) is very quick, and Sharon (Goodman) is super-physical.”
Stuelke (power forward) and Goodman (center) made their first career starts Monday, and both impressed. Stuelke scored 22 points, Goodman 19.
Goodman’s start — and impact — was a surprise to just about everyone outside the program.
“She made big leaps and strides this summer,” Martin said.
Bluder added: “Sharon is so strong and physical. She has a nice wide target. She’s just owning (the opportunity). She’s taking control of it.”
Five signs with the Class of 2024
Iowa announced Wednesday the signing of five members of the Class of 2024:
* https://twitter.com/IowaWBB/status/1722387295477628979a guard from Peoria, Ill.
* https://twitter.com/IowaWBB/status/1722304785229947054a post from Sherwood, Ore.
* https://twitter.com/IowaWBB/status/1722270916220997693a guard from Solon
* https://twitter.com/IowaWBB/status/1722269764951613739 a guard from McFarland, Ill.
* https://twitter.com/IowaWBB/status/1722268583131258890a guard from Verona, Wis.
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