When UCF Knights Women’s Basketball hit the court Friday night history was made regardless of the 49-41 losing outcome as they hosted one of the most storied programs in the sport, the Tennessee Volunteers.
While this defeat at the hands of the Lady Vols appears in the loss column for this season, the experience gained from this particular contest could be huge for big picture success moving forward.
During Hoops Media Day last week, head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson mentioned tough out-of-conference games like this were meant to prepare UCF for life in the Big 12 once they debut in there in 2023. Coach Abe discussed lessons learned against the Lady Vols.
After the tight battle with @UCF_WBB hosting the #LadyVols, @COACH_ABE goes over what the team learned from the 49-41 loss to a storied program. #GKCO @TENvsUCF @UCFBanneret_SBN pic.twitter.com/GQXFmlciA4— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) November 13, 2021
That’s not to say that Knights just gave up and accepted fate. Brittany Smith and Destiny Thomas denied early efforts by the Vols to utilize their size advantage in the paint. But in the second quarter, the Lady Vols spread out the floor with their offense to make it a shootout from their perspective. In that quarter they went 6-12 compared to the Knights 1-10 in the period for a commanding 26-14 Tennessee halftime lead.
Coming out of the locker room, the Knights closed the gap to four points twice during the remaining quarters, but were unable to capitalize on chances late in the game to secure the victory.
For all the talk about the size on the floor, it’s 5’8” guard Diamond Battles who was far and away the top performer for the Knights with 21 points. She outscored the rest of the team combining for 20 points.
Battles also spoke about the impact this game has on UCF as an up-and-coming program.
For their next contest, UCF goes on the road to face another established program in the Virginia Cavaliers on Wednesday night at 7 pm EST. Fans hope the Knights continue to learn the lessons they need to in this one toward future games for this season and for seasons beyond while also securing their first road win.