Iowa State women’s basketball gets rolling by Fairleigh Dickinson on opening night

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IOWA CITY — Although it may seem inauspicious to encounter a clock glitch and a referees timeout before the first possession of the season got past half court, Kaitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes made sure that was the only hiccup of the night.

No. 3 Iowa women’s basketball wasted no time dismantling an outmatched Fairleigh Dickinson team on Monday night, handing the Knights a 102-46 loss in their season opener inside a mostly full Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It wasn’t long after Hannah Stolke won her first tip as a rookie, which required a delay with many Hawkeyes smiling at the irony. Clark made up for lost time immediately after play resumed.

A 17-point first quarter as part of another quality stat line — 28 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds — headlined Clarke’s opening act, as she weaved her way through the FDU defense with little resistance. There was an early deep drive and an impressive four-point play. Drives, platters and everything else showed off the full arsenal from the jump.

“Our transition game early was really good,” Clark said. “As a team, just seven turnovers on 28 assists is really good. That’s kind of what we pride ourselves on, a lot of assists and low turnover numbers. Sometimes early in the year, those (turnover) numbers can be a little high.” “

With an 18-point lead after 10 minutes and a 30-point lead midway through the first half, Monday’s game quickly became what the Hawkeyes wanted to do. With a tough schedule coming up in this first month, this FDU game was really Iowa State’s best opportunity to test the waters to get started.

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It started with Sharon Goodman getting her first collegiate start, a beautiful moment after two years marred by a torn ACL. The Crestwood High School graduate responded by scoring 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

“Trust was built throughout practice,” Goodman said. “I have great teammates who keep telling me to keep going.

“Post’s coach (Jan Jensen) always says, ‘You know your shots.’ So just trusting that.”

Elsewhere, all of the Hawkeyes’ healthy players showed up in the first half as Iowa State implemented several four-guard lineups with Stuelke, Addison O’Grady or Goodman at the five.

The Hawkeyes have been relying on internal growth throughout this campaign, and Monday was off to a strong start. Dominant nights from Stuelke (22 points and 9 rebounds on 9-for-10 shooting) and Goodman topped off the effort down low and showed why Iowa felt it didn’t need to upgrade that area this offseason following the departure of Monika Czinano.

“I know it’s one game and everyone is concerned about our interior game,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “But Hannah and Sharon had really good nights. I know the competition will get better, but it’s a good confidence booster for everyone.”

With opening night in the rearview mirror, it’s time for Iowa State to move forward into the higher elements. Monday’s win was the only real break the Hawkeyes will get this month, with games against Virginia Tech, UNI, Kansas State and Drake coming up before November ends in Florida.

Dargan Southard is a sports reporter and covers Iowa athletics for the Des Moines Register and Email him at mso[email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

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