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

Caitlin Clark scores 44 as No. 3 Iowa scrapes by No. 8 Virginia Tech

The Hawkeyes persevered versus last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference champions.
Grace Smith
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark goes up for a shot during the Ally Tipoff, a basketball game between No. 3 Iowa and No. 8 Virginia Tech at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. Clark shot 13-of-31 in the paint. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hokies, 80-76.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The No. 3 Iowa women’s basketball team narrowly escaped defeat Thursday night, winning 80-76 over No. 5 Virginia Tech at the Ally Tipoff in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Iowa was led by star guard Caitlin Clark, who finished the game with 44 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Guard Kate Martin and forward Hannah Stuelke were Iowa’s next leading scorers with 12 and 10, respectively.

Iowa advances to 2-0 on the season. Despite an over 14-hour drive from Iowa City to Charlotte, the colors of black and gold were represented well among the 15,196 in the Spectrum Center.

“Every arena we walk into, it’s going to be a lot of fans maybe screaming for us and maybe screaming against us, but we wouldn’t want it any other way,” Clark said at the post-game press conference.

Following tip-off, the players set the tone that it would be a physical, defensive matchup with both teams having players in foul trouble.

Size difference

After winning the toss, the Hokies got the lead early, finding center and leading scorer Elizabeth Kitley in the paint for a bucket underneath the basket — her 6-foot-6 frame out-sizing starting center Stuelke, who usually plays the forward position but was switched to the center before the game as guard Molly Davis got her first start.

After falling into foul trouble early on, Davis was subbed out late into the first quarter for center Sharon Goodman to matchup against Kitley, which proved successful as Kitley was locked down in the post.

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said the strategy heading into this game was to change how her team matched up against Kitley.

“We were trying to mix up what we were doing with her, so she just never really got comfortable,” Bluder said.

Even with the size disadvantage, Iowa was still able to out-rebound Virginia Tech, 47-40, with the help of backup guard Sydney Affolter, who grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.

And guard Kylie Feuerbach added some fire with eight points in 17 minutes, including a confident three in the mix.

“Kylie came in and really gave us a great spark off the bench,” Clark said. “Something that we kind of needed, and it’s great to see that after she suffered an ACL injury last year.”

Early shooting slump

The Iowa fans at Spectrum Center went bezerk when Clark hit her first three two minutes into the first quarter, but this would turn out to be the only three-pointer from the Hawkeyes that connected in the first half, as Iowa would go on to miss 14 straight behind the three-point line.

But where the Hawkeyes struggled, the Hokies excelled, making five three-pointers with star guard Georgia Amoore accounting for four of them, including a half-court shot as time expired in the first quarter.

Amoore would finish the game with a team-high 31 points. Clark had high praise for the player who was second only to her with the most three-point shots made last season, with 118 to her 140, respectively.

“Georgia is one of the best guards in the country — I think that’s pretty obvious,” Clark said. 

Iowa bounced back in the second half as Clark hit two threes in the third quarter, including one three minutes in when the score was tied at 37 apiece.

Even when Iowa started to pull away at the end as Clark and Co.’s shooting improved, the Hokies responded with a three of their own, with Amoore nailing two threes with less than 90 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, making it a three-point game with six seconds remaining.

But the Hokies sent Clark to the foul line, who went 1-of-2 to close it out in Charlotte.

Up next

Iowa returns to action Sunday on the road against Northern Iowa where Clark is 16 points away from breaking Megan Gustafson’s record for most points in Iowa women’s basketball history. 

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About the Contributors
Cooper Worth
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.
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.