The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s basketball center Sharon Goodman excels in surprising season-opening start

The third-year forward cracked the starting lineup for the first time since her high school days and didn’t disappoint, scoring 19 points in the 102-46 win.
Grace Smith
Iowa center Sharon Goodman goes up for a shot during a home opener basketball game between No. 3 Iowa and Fairleigh Dickinson at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Goodman started for the Hawkeyes for the first time in her college career, scoring 19 points for Iowa. The Hawkeyes defeated the Knights, 102-46.

Iowa women’s basketball center Sharon Goodman marked her long-awaited return to top-quality play in the Hawkeyes’ dominant win over Fairleigh Dickinson at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday — and with a bang.

Following a historic run to the national championship game last season, the Iowa women’s basketball team enters the 2023-24 campaign with dreams of championship glory. And during that Final Four run, Iowa players such as Caitlin Clark, Hannah Stuelke, and Monika Czinano quickly became fan favorites.

But following Czinano’s departure, the program was left with a void at the center position.

During the offseason, the expectation was that third-year center Addi O’Grady would earn the starting spot after playing well in a reserve role last season — that included spending nearly half of the NCAA National Championship game on the floor — and getting the nod in both of Iowa’s exhibition games.

But during pregame player introductions before Monday night’s season-opener against Fairleigh Dickinson, one name shocked most of the 15,000 fans inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena: Sharon Goodman.

Hailing from Lime Springs, Iowa, the third-year came to Iowa City after a decorated high school career that saw her leave Crestwood High School with the single season record for points scored. 

She comes from an athletic background. Her father, Brian, played football at Northwest Missouri State University, and her brother played basketball at Buena Vista University.  

As a true freshman at Iowa, Goodman saw action in 30 games but averaged only just over eight minutes per game.

Last season, though, Goodman was left mostly cheering on the sidelines due to the consistency of Czinano and the emergence of second-year forward Hannah Stuelke up next at the five — as well as lingering problems from an ACL injury she suffered prior to the 2021-22 season. 

But during the last few weeks, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder has seen something special from Goodman in practice — enough to take note of and bring her back into the Hawkeye rotation. 

“She’s been producing well in practice and playing great, as you saw tonight,” Bluder said. 

And Goodman didn’t shy away from the spotlight, scoring a career-high 19 points — third-highest on the team behind Clark and Stuelke, who now plays the power forward position — while snagging four rebounds.

All in just 16 minutes. 

“I’m just grateful for the coaches and for my teammates,” Goodman said of her cracking the starting lineup.

Since high school, Goodman has played with a heavy heart: Her mother, Connie, passed away in February of 2020 after a four-year battle with cancer. 

And February of 2020 was the last time Goodman started in a basketball game – until tonight’s game against Fairleigh Dickinson. 

“Looking back at all that’s happened since then, I’m just once again grateful for the opportunity,” Goodman said. 

If she continues this stellar play in the paint, there’s no reason to believe Goodman won’t maintain her spot in the starting lineup — or at least a significant number of minutes should O’Grady get the nod at some point. 

Because Bluder is certainly pleased with Goodman’s performance so far, and size will be important when the Hawkeyes turn around for Thursday’s matchup against No. 8 Virginia Tech.

“She’s been asking for the ball, and she runs the floor hard,” Bluder said. “She does a lot of good things for our team.”

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.