What you need to know

PORTLAND, Oregon – The Huskies’ first road trip of the season took them across the country to Oregon, the birthplace of all things Nike.

UConn women’s basketball will compete in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament over Thanksgiving weekend – an event held annually since 2017 to honor Nike’s co-founder, Knight, and what the brand has done for basketball.

UConn, number 3, is one of four women’s basketball teams to compete in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament along with Duke, Oregon State and number 9 Iowa. Concurrently this weekend in Portland is the Phil Knight Invitational tournament (which the UConn men participate in) featuring a women’s class of No. 8 North Carolina, No. 5 Iowa State, No. 18 Oregon and Michigan State.

The Huskies enter the tournament after moving up two places in the latest AP Top 25 Poll following their victories over then-No. 3 Texas and then No. 10 NC State last week. While they will miss Dorka Juhász for at least the next two games, the Huskies have proven they are still capable of dismantling offenses and scoring at will (Azzi Fudd was named Big East Player of the Week on Monday after turning 32 scored times). points in back-to-back games last week).

Here’s what to look for in the first game of the tournament:

UConn frontcourt

With Juhász out (broken thumb), Aubrey Griffin started for the first time since January 31, 2021. It was the redshirt junior’s sixth career start and she jumped at the opportunity to finish on Sunday with a career-high six steals atop 16 points.

Despite never starting together before Sunday, Griffin and Aaliyah Edwards became a dangerous duo on the post for UConn (Edwards finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds) at both ends of the field.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said he expects his forwards to lead every game because he knows there will be times when the ball just won’t go in for his shooters (Lou Lopez Sénéchal was 0 of 4 in the first half before he finished Sunday’s game with 20 points).

“Our post players are going to decide the fate of our season because at the moment we are not complete,” he said. “We don’t have everyone there and I know it’s going to happen, I know how people will struggle shooting the ball because they always do… so we’ll go as far as our post players take us. So they’ll be every night should be great.”

No couch, no problem?

Four Huskies played 30 minutes or more on Sunday. Fudd played the entire 40-minute game, while both Nika Mühl and Edwards played over 36 minutes. While UConn’s starters are all more than capable of playing full games, it doesn’t leave much room to breathe.

Caroline Ducharme continues to work her way back after sitting out the first game and demonstration with neck stiffness. But her 11 minutes on Sunday showed she’s still not quite 100 percent. Ducharme was UConn’s only player off the bench to attempt a shot (she went 0 of 2).

Ayanna Patterson was third on the team with five rebounds, but the freshman is still learning how to control her physicality to avoid fouls. While UConn doesn’t need every player to score every game like Fudd, a little more production from the bench wouldn’t hurt if the starters need a rest.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DUKE

Duke is coached by former WNBA and Olympic champion Kara Lawson. This is Lawson’s third season as leader of the Blue Devils. She most recently helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the 2022 FIBA ​​World Cup and coached the nation’s first 3×3 women’s basketball team to gold in the sport’s Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Games. Lawson, a former ESPN analyst , was also the first female coach hired by the Boston Celtics in franchise history when she served as an assistant during the 2020 season.

During her 13-year WNBA career, Lawson played for the Connecticut Sun from 2010-2013. She is one of three women in Olympic history to win a gold medal, both as a coach and as a player. Lawson made her mark in the collegiate world as a two-time All-America selection while playing at Tennessee from 1999-2003.

Duke is 5-0 to start the season and travels to Portland after defeating Toledo (58-41) in Ohio on Sunday. Celeste Taylor leads the team with 12.0 points per game and Kennedy Brown leads with 5.2 rebounds.

UConn is 12-3 all-time against the Blue Devils, including nine straight wins dating back to 2007. Duke’s last win over the Huskies came on March 28, 2006, winning 63-61 in overtime in the Elite Eight in Bridgeport.

No. 3 UConn vs. Duke

When: Friday, 6 p.m. ET

Where: Chiles Center, University of Portland

What: First round of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament

Registrations: UConn (3-0, Big East), Duke (5-0, ACC)

TV: ESPN2/ESPNU, =

Radio: UConn Sports Network, WAVZ-New Haven (1300 AM), WGCH-Greenwich (1490 AM), WATR-Waterbury (1320 AM), WICH-Norwich (1310 AM, 94.5 FM), WILI-Wilimantic (1400 AM, 95.3 FM) , 97.9 FM-ESPN Hartford, SiriusXM-983, SXM App 973

PROBABLY STARTERS:

UConn

Player Pos. PPG.

Azzi Fudd G. 30.0

Aubrey Griffin F. 14.3

Aaliyah Edwards F. 15.0

Nika Muhl G. 4.0

Lou Lopez Senechal G./F. 16.3

Duke

Celeste Taylor G. 12.0

Kennedy Brown C 10.8

Jordyn Oliver G. 5.2

Lee Volker G. 5.0

Shayeann Day-Wilson G. 6.4

[email protected] @maggie_vanoni

Leave a Comment