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Duke Women Get A Huge Opponent In November

This will be a very interesting test

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 13 Women’s - North Carolina State at Duke
 DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 13: NC State Wolfpack center Elissa Cunane (33) goes up for the layup contested by Duke Blue Devils forward Jade Williams (25) during the womens college basketball game between NC State and Duke on February 13, 2022 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kara Lawson’s Duke program will get a major opportunity - and a major measuring stick - in November, as they’ll take on iconic UConn and the celebrated Paige Bueckers in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament out in Portland.

Iowa and Oregon State are on the other side of the bracket, so four solid teams will be there.

They will have a third-place game, but for some reason it will be played after the championship game, which makes absolutely no sense. Who’s going to care then?

As most you know, Knight is a legendary figure in athletics, having co-founded Nike and then turning it into the premiere athletics apparel company in the world.

Nike has a long-term relationship with Duke and several Blue Devils who went on to the NBA have contracts with Nike, including Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Brandon Ingram.

UConn will be a major challenge for the Blue Devils. It’s not like it was for a long time when UConn won the national title seemingly every year - UConn hasn’t done that since 2015-16, which is a bit shocking - but they have made the Final Four every year since 2007-08 and last year’s 30-6 record was the worst since 2004-05’s 25-8.

And keep in mind that the sensational Bueckers missed much of the season after surgery for a tibial plateau fracture (and also her meniscus was worked on) in December, not returning until February, and certainly not 100 percent for the rest of the season.

So we will likely see her at her best in November, and a loaded supporting cast too.