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IOWA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Challenging schedule awaits Hawkeye women

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NCAA Iowa UConn Basketball

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark passes the ball around Connecticut guard Paige Bueckers during the Hawkeyes' NCAA Sweet 16 game against the Huskies in 2021. The two elite players could meet on the court again at the Phil Knight Legacy if both of their teams win opening-round games.

IOWA CITY — Caitlin Clark has no problem with the challenge-filled nonconference schedule the Iowa women’s basketball team will play this season.

“The schedule is loaded. That’s what you need to get a one seed in the postseason, and we want to be a one seed going into the NCAA Tournament,’’ Clark said Friday shortly before the Hawkeyes’ 2022-23 nonconference schedule was unveiled.

Before working on defending the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles it won last season, Iowa will prepare with seven home games, a pair of road tests and a neutral-site tourney that could result in a match-up against 2022 NCAA runner-up Connecticut.

"I love really hard games and those are the games you get most excited for so I wouldn’t want it any other way," Clark said. "The Big Ten is going to be good again, too."

Iowa’s home schedule is highlighted by match-ups against a pair of potential top-20 teams in North Carolina State, which visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 1, and Iowa State, which plays at Iowa on Dec. 7.

The Hawkeyes open the season with a Nov. 7 game against Southern, three days before Evansville visits. Iowa also has home games against Belmont on Nov. 20, Northern Iowa on Dec. 18 and Dartmouth on Dec. 21.

Iowa will travel to Drake on Nov. 13 and Kansas State on Nov. 17, both prior to the Hawkeyes’ other trip away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

As part of a collection of Thanksgiving week tournaments that will celebrate the contributions Nike co-founder Phil Knight has made to men’s and women’s college basketball, Iowa will play in the Phil Knight Legacy in Portland.

The Hawkeyes will play Oregon State on Nov. 25 in an opening-round game of a four-team tourney. Connecticut and Duke are the other two teams in the event with first-round winners and losers meeting on Nov. 27.

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