IOWA CITY, Iowa — Caitlin Clark had 28 points and 10 assists and Hannah Stuelke added 22 points as No. 3 Iowa opened the season with a 102-46 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Monday night.
Clark, the reigning national player of the year who was a unanimous Associated Press preseason All-American this season, started her senior season by hitting 11 of 17 shots. She has scored in double figures in 91 consecutive games. It was the 44th career double-double for Clark, who added seven rebounds while playing just 24 minutes.
Clark didn't have a turnover, a statistic she noted in the post-game press conference.
“For myself, that's an area I can really grow in — taking care of the ball, knowing when to not take risks,” Clark said. “Hopefully that number continues to stay like that.”
It was an important beginning for the Hawkeyes, who head into a four-game stretch that includes a neutral-court game against No. 8 Virginia Tech, a road game against in-state school Northern Iowa, and home games against Kansas State and in-state school Drake.
“We need to go out and compete against some really great teams,” Clark said. “UNI, Drake, K-State — those are really difficult games. These are some of the most important moments that I think really gave us great success in late March last year. Being able to grow and move on as a team is really important.”
The Hawkeyes, coming off an appearance in the national championship game last season, took control of the game early against the Knights. Iowa led 12-2 2½ minutes into the game, later putting together a 16-0 run that led to a 60-24 halftime lead.
With top-ranked LSU losing to 92-78 to No. 20 Colorado on Monday night, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder didn't want to talk about where the Hawkeyes could go in the rankings if they win against Virginia Tech.
“Our target is big enough as it is,” Bluder said. “We know we have a really tough challenge Thursday night, and then Sunday at UNI. That's a tough place to play. I'm not going to get ahead of myself in those scenarios.”
Stuelke, the Big Ten’s Sixth Player of the Year last season as a freshman, was 9 of 10 from the field and added nine rebounds in the first start of her career.
Sharon Goodman, a fourth-year junior also making the first start of her career, added a career-high 19 points on 7 of 8 shooting for the Hawkeyes. Sydney Affolter added 11 points.
Goodman, moving into the center spot vacated by three-year starter Monika Czinano, found out she was starting last week. It was her first start since her senior year of high school.
“It’s been since February, 2020, since I started my last basketball game. Yeah, that was a long time ago," said Goodman, who missed all of the 2021-22 season with a knee injury. “Looking back at all that has happened since then, that’s a lot of the thoughts behind this. I was just grateful.”
Iowa's biggest lead was 102-41 with 48 left in the fourth quarter.
Asked what the Hawkeyes did in that early start, Fairleigh Dickinson coach Stephanie Gaitley said, “Anything they wanted. I’ve watched them on tape a lot, and I’ve known Lisa for a long time. Once you’re in person and you see it, you see the maturity of this team.”
Iowa shot 54.8% from the field while holding Fairleigh Dickinson to 29%. The Hawkeyes had 28 assists against seven turnovers.
Lilly Parke led the Knights with 11 points. Teneisia Brown had 10 points.
The Hawkeyes, who unveiled their banner commemorating last season’s Final Four run, looked like they picked up from where they left off at the end of last season. Iowa had to replace two starters in Czinano and forward McKenna Warnock , but Stuelke and Goodman picked up the frontcourt production. The Hawkeyes also got nine points off the bench from center Addison O'Grady.
Fairleigh Dickinson: At Army on Sunday
Iowa: The Hawkeyes play Virginia Tech in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday in a neutral-court matchup of Final Four teams from last season.
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