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Sianni Martin, Kay Kay Wright Charge On to Comeback in Season Opener

UCF goes 1-0 to begin the season!

UCF officially entered the win column in their season opener with a 74-58 win over Pittsburgh.

The Knights started off the game slow, trailing 18-5 in the first five and a half minutes.

One of the surprises and reasons the team was trailing at the beginning of the game came before the tip, when senior guard Kay Kay Wright did not appear in the starting lineup.

Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson stated that Wright had tweaked her ankle during the summer and would groom her back in slowly, but also that Wright would no longer come off the bench.

Deep shooting from redshirt senior Sianni Martin (5-6 from three) and 11 second quarter points from Wright helped dig the Knights out of the hole and bury the Panthers.

At halftime, the team still trailed by three but the momentum seemed to be leaning in the direction of the home team, especially with 4,000 Orange County public school kids in attendance for Education Day.

The biggest change came with how the team attacked Pitt on offense.

“They [Pitt] played zone the whole time and we just figured out what offense we were going to run and the shooters were wide open,” said Coach ABE.

Another adjustment the team made came at the low block, where junior forward Masseny Kaba and sophomore Brittany Smith were able to establish their presence.

Kaba scored 14 while grabbing nine boards and Smith notched her first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“We have very high expectations for our team,” Smith said, “so for us to go out there and work as hard as we did was very good.”

Sophomore guard Diamond Battles also played strong, dishing out a game-high nine assists in the win.

“It’s always great to start off with a win,” sophomore guard Diamond Battles said, “just with the new players and a new team. It’s a great win.”

While the game was won thanks to the strong play from the veterans, new players also made their UCF debuts.

Courtajia Sanders and Georgia Gayle both started for the Knights while junior transfer Jnaya Walker and freshman Destiny Thomas also made their first appearances as Knights.

Among the four, Gayle had the most noteworthy game with nine points on 3-8 shooting from distance.

For the Panthers, Gabbie Green scored a game-high 18 and Aysia Bugg dropped 17.

With the Knights going 1-0 in the opener, the team now embarks on a three-game road trip before returning home November 24.

The Knights first road trip of the season comes Saturday as the team faces Belmont. Tipoff is at 8:00 PM EST.