The UCF Knights Women Basketball team’s 7-game win streak came to an end on Saturday night at #14 Iowa, 69-61.
The game marked the return of UCF’s Head Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, who is a native of Cedar Rapids, and transferred from Georgia to Iowa as a player to play for Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer.
But Coach Abe’s homecoming was spoiled by a one of the best players in the country. Here are my three points from UCF’s loss at Iowa.
Caitlin Clark is as Good as Advertised
Clark led Iowa with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in the game. UCF has to feel good about how they guarded Clark, as she only shot 5/18 from the field and 3/12 from the 3 point line, and held her below her average of 22 points per game, which ranks in the top ten in the NCAA.
But Clark took over the game in the 3rd quarter, which was the difference in game. She had 7 points and 4 assists in the 3rd, and got her supporting cast going as Iowa outscored UCF 25-12 to go up 56-43 through three. Clark will be among the contenders for National Player of the Year.
UCF Lost The Battle In The Paint
Despite having the length and size advantage, the Knights were held to a season low 16 points in the paint, getting outscored by Iowa 24-16. That is 9 points below UCF’s season average of 25 points per game in the paint. The previous season low by the Knights was 18 points in their other loss to No. 7 Tennessee on Nov 12.
UCF is 8-0 this season when they outscore the opponent in the paint, but 0-2 when they get outscored. Iowa starting center Monica Czinano scored 19 points on 8/11 from the floor, outscoring the starting frontcourt bigs of Masseny Kaba and Destiny Thomas by 11 points.
The Hawkeyes also won the battle on the glass, out-rebounding UCF 42-36. The Knights are 1-2 on the season when they get outrebounded by the opponent, with the only win coming against Idaho State. UCF is 7-0 this season when they out rebound the opponent.
Tay Sanders Had Her Best Game of the Season
Tay Sanders kept the Knights in the game, leading the way with a season high 20 points, 2 away from matching her career high. Sanders was aggresive, looking for her shot all night with Iowa’s defense focusing on Diamond Battles, who also was busy helping guard Clark.
Sanders’ offense has picked up in her last four games. She’s averaging 14 points per game, scoring in double figures in 3 of those 4 games after only scoring in double figures once in the first 6 games of the season and averaging 8.6 points per game.
UCF is now 2-1 on its current 4-game road trip, which will conclude on December 29th at Princeton. Tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. on ESPN+