The Iowa women's basketball team is on a team trip to Italy right now and in between good food, good art, and good shopping, they're even managing to squeeze in a little good basketball. In the first game of their European adventure, Iowa toppled Dream Team Italian Select, 84-52. Go Iowa Awesome > Dream Team. Scoreboard don't lie.
All of the Iowa players on the tour earned minutes in the blowout win, with Whitney Jennings, Ally Disterhoft, Alexa Kastanek, Chase Coley, and Kali Peschel earning starting nods. Kastanek led all scorers with 15 points, while Jennings added 14 points and Coley scored 10 points. Carly Mohns tallied 14 points and freshman Hannah Stewart poured in 12 points as well.
The NCAA allows teams to take a trip like this once every four years (you may recall the Iowa men traipsing through France a few summers back), but the timing of this trip comes at a very opportune time for Iowa. Iowa experienced a lot of roster turnover after the 2014-15 season -- seniors Samantha Logic, Melissa Dixon, and Bethany Doolittle were fixtures in the Iowa lineup for the last four seasons and formed the core of a team that led Iowa to multiple NCAA Tournament trips (including last season's breakthrough appearance in the Sweet 16). Replacing them won't be easy at all, so it's very beneficial that Iowa gets some added time to practice and develop chemistry with all their new faces before the season tips off in November.
The European trip is probably especially helpful in getting the members of Iowa's highly-regarded recruiting class up to speed. Iowa signed espnW's 17th best recruiting class in 2015, headlined by 5* PG Tania Davis (#36 recruit overall) and 4* C Megan Gustafson (#81 overall). 4* PF Hannah Stewart and 3* SF Tagyn Larson round out the class. All four women are on the European trip (Stewart tallied double figures in her first appearance, as noted above). Davis, Gustafson, and Stewart may have the best odds at seeing playing time in 2015-16, given the holes Iowa needs to fill at point guard and in the post after the departures of Logic and Doolittle.
Iowa's next game is against Asd Pallacanestro Muggia in Venice on Tuesday, August 18. You can follow all of Iowa's Italian exploits right here.