UConn, Iowa State among 4 top-10 women’s basketball teams headed to Portland for Phil Knight tournaments

The Phil Knight Invitational and Phil Knight Legacy tournaments tip off this week in Portland, bringing together many of the top college basketball programs in the nation. And for the first time, eight women’s teams will compete in two separate four-team brackets.

The women’s tournaments feature four teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP top 25. All eight teams will play their first games at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus, with two games on Thanksgiving and two more on Friday. The winners advance to play in two championship games on Sunday at the Moda Center, while the first-round losers will play third-place games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The Oregon Ducks are part of the PK Invitational bracket, which plays Thursday, while the Oregon State Beavers play Friday in the PK Legacy bracket.

Here are a few important numbers to know to gear up for the holiday weekend:

The number of NCAA championships won by coach Geno Auriemma in his 38 seasons at UConn, where he’s built the most dominant women’s program of all time.

The Huskies are still among the sport’s elite each season, but the growth of the women’s game has led to greater depth at the college level and they haven’t won a national title since 2016.

UConn reached the championship game last season, but standout guard Paige Bueckers suffered a major knee injury for the second time in two years and will miss the entire season. The current Huskies, ranked No. 3 in this week’s AP poll, are led by guard Azzi Fudd, who is averaging 30 points through three games this season.

Duke awaits UConn at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the PK Legacy bracket. The Blue Devils, coached since 2020 by former Tennessee and WNBA star Kara Lawson, have not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2018 but are off to a 5-0 start this season.

The career scoring average of Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, whose Hawkeyes are coming to Portland this week.

A 6-foot junior, Clark is a relentless worker on the court, with career averages of 6.9 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game to go with her eye-popping scoring totals. The Hawkeyes are one of the top offensive teams in the nation, averaging 84.2 points per game last year. But last season ended on a down note as the second-seeded Hawkeyes were upset by Creighton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Currently ranked No. 9 in the AP poll, Iowa faces Oregon State at 5 p.m. Friday in the PK Legacy bracket. The Beavers are looking to get back on track after missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 last season. OSU is 4-0 in the early going this season, and freshman forward Raegan Beers had a breakout performance in her last game, racking up 28 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Prairie View A&M.

The average attendance for the Iowa State Cyclones last season, ranking second in the country behind only national champion South Carolina.

Led by 28th-year head coach Bill Fennelly, the Cyclones are ranked fifth in the nation and come in with big aspirations this season following their first run to the Sweet 16 since 2010.

Iowa State will take on Michigan State at 4:30 on Thanksgiving in the PK Invitational. The Cyclones and Spartans last met in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, a 79-75 Iowa State victory.

The Spartans are off to a 6-0 start this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 86-46. Michigan State finished 15-15 last year and missed the NCAA Tournament.

The last year North Carolina was ranked in the AP top 10 before this week.

The Tar Heels roll into Portland ranked eighth in the poll, and are looking to build on a Sweet 16 appearance last season. North Carolina features five players currently averaging double figures in points, the same number as PK Invitational opponent Oregon. The Ducks and Heels play at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Oregon is ranked 18th in this week’s poll and has yet to be tested in four wins to start the season. The Ducks are still finding their footing in the post-Sabrina Ionescu era, and standout freshmen Chance Gray, Jennah Isai and Grace VanSlooten could help Oregon return to an elite level after a disappointing first-round defeat in last season’s NCAA Tournament.

RELATED: Phil Knight tournaments bring bevy of elite men’s teams to Portland

— Scott Sepich for The Oregonian/OregonLive

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