Devils, Heels to play UConn

Women's schedules released

Staff WriterSeptember 9, 2010 

The ACC released its women's basketball schedules on Wednesday, revealing a slate of 45 nationally televised games involving Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina

Exhibition games tip off in October, with the regular season starting on Nov. 12 and conference play opening on Jan. 6.

Following their run to the NCAA tournament regional finals, the Blue Devils face 13 opponents who advanced to the NCAA tournament last season.

With the return of senior guard Jasmine Thomas and the arrival of the nation's top recruiting class, the Devils are eager to start.

Duke's schedule starts with Brigham Young on Nov. 13, and features a matchup with Wisconsin on Dec. 2 as part of the continuing ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The Devils' nonconference schedule also features home games against Southern California on Nov. 15, Texas A&M on Dec. 6 and Xavier on Dec. 21. They hit the road for a game against defending national champion Connecticut on Jan. 31 - a nationally televised contest on ESPN2.

"There is a lot of culture to our schedule - obviously there are great opponents across the board," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We have terrific travel where we have to go on the road in the Big Ten, Big East, SEC, Big 12 and other very good teams like James Madison. It will all be great prep work for an incredible ACC season in which I think this ACC schedule could be the hardest ever."

Duke faces N.C. State at Reynolds Coliseum on Jan. 23. The Devils face UNC in Chapel Hill on Feb. 7 and again in the last game of their regular season on Feb. 27.

The ACC tournament runs March 3-6 in Greensboro.

N.C. State opens the season hosting its Wolfpack Invitational on Nov. 12 and 13, featuring College of Charleston, Creighton and Liberty.

On Dec. 1 the Pack visits Illinois for its ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. It opens the ACC season at home against Clemson on Jan. 6

The Pack earned a berth in the NCAA tournament last season and made it to the finals of the ACC tournament. Behind the talents of sophomore Marissa Kastanek and junior Bonae Holston, the Pack looks for continued improvement under second-year coach Kellie Harper.

Her team will face eight teams that made the NCAA tournament.

"We are so excited about this upcoming season," Harper said. "Our team will be challenged from our season-opening tournament in November to the ACC tournament in March. It's important that we focus on one game at a time and work to improve throughout the year."

North Carolina enters the season determined to avoid the pitfalls of last season, when the Tar Heels finished 19-12 and were knocked out of the opening rounds of the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

Senior forward Jessica Breland has returned after missing last season as she recovered from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

UNC opens this season at home against North Florida on Nov. 12.

The Tar Heels travel to Honolulu for the Rainbow Wahine Showdown from Nov. 26-28 with teams such as Washington State, Illinois, Gonzaga and N.C. Central.

On Dec. 2 they host Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

In another marquee home game, the Heels host Connecticut on Jan. 17 - a nationally televised game on ESPN2.

robinson@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4530

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