No. 3 Hawkeyes set for clash against No. 8 Hokies in Ally Tipoff
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The competition officially heats up for the Iowa women’s basketball team. Following their season opening win against Fairleigh Dickinson, the Hawkeyes will face Virginia Tech in a top ten matchup in their first road game of the season.
The No. 3 Iowa women and eighth ranked Virginia Tech are set to faceoff in the Ally Tipoff in Charlotte Thursday night.
“No one wants to be playing a team as good as Iowa in your second game, but it’s a great opportunity for women’s basketball to showcase itself,” Virginia Tech women’s basketball head coach Kenny Brooks said.
Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said she committed to the highly anticipated contest for the Hawkeyes before even knowing their opponent.
“I was ready to play this game against what we knew was going to be a great opponent no matter who it was. I think we got the best of the crop that they were talking about when they signed Virginia Tech though,” Bluder said.
This matchup will pit two conference champions and 2023 NCAA Final Four teams against each other.
“We’re kind of starting off where we were last year, so it’s really exciting. We obviously know they’re a really good team,” sixth-year guard Kate Martin said.
“As a competitor, as a player, these are the game you want to play in and that you live for. These are the games fans want to watch and want to come to,” fifth-year guard Gabbie Marshall added.
Both programs know it will be must see tv.
“I know they have Thursday night NFL football, but if you’re like me, it’s hard finding it on Prime Video. We’re going to be front and center,” Brooks said.
Led by the reining National Player of the Year in Caitlin Clark, the Hawkeyes have averaged 106 points through their first three contests. Despite losing two stars to the WNBA, Virginia Tech returns one of the best three pointer shooters in Georgia Amoore.
“She does have similarities to Caitlin and I think it helps having to guard Caitlin every day in practice. You’re getting the best of the best every day,” Marshall said. “I take on the role of guarding the best player day in and day out.”
In addition, fifth-year center and ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley will challenge the black and gold down low.
“We’re going to need to help our posts as much as we can. Whenever you have a big player in there like Kitley, obviously rebounding is going to be a key as well,” Martin said.
This premier matchup is not a season-defining game, but the Hawkeyes and Hokies know this early season test will only help down the road.
“I don’t think we go in there with so much pressure like we have to win the game. We want to win the game. we expect to win the basketball game, but you look at the bigger picture and it’s going to test you early,” Brooks said.
“It will help you. Win or lose in my opinion come March because you scheduled it,” Bluder said.
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