After two postponed games and having not played a game in 18 days, the UCF Knights Women’s Basketball team opened American Athletic Conference play with a 54-47 win at Tulane, a place that has given them fits historically. The Knights improved to 9-2 on the season. Alisha Lewis and Tay Sanders led the way with 13 points each while Masseney Kaba chipped in 8 points, becoming the 20th Knight to reach the 1,000 career point career mark.
Here are my three points from the Knights’ win at Tulane.
1. UCF’s defense still leads the way
The Knights’ defense had no rust after 18 days off, holding Tulane to 30 points below their season scoring average on 27% from the field.
“Holding this team to 47 points is big,” said UCF Head Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson following the win. “Our defense was really good down the stretch, especially in the 3rd quarter. We got some steals, tips and got some layps and some transition buckets. I think defensively that was the key to the game.”
For the season, UCF is giving up just 48.1 points per game, which is 2nd-lowest in the country.
2. Alisha Lewis’ aggressiveness is a good thing for UCF’s offense
Good things happen to UCF on offense when Lewis is on the court. Great things happen to UCF’s offense when Lewis is aggressive. The coaches get on Lewis to shoot the ball more as she is the best long distance shooter on the team but sometimes is too unselfish as a point guard. Lewis was aggressive on offense, going 5/6 from the field and 2/3 from long distance.
Lewis led the Knights with a +10 ratio when she was on the court on Wednesday night. That is no surprise as Lewis has always been among the best plus/minus players on the court throughout the season. She filled up the box score with 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
If Alisha Lewis plays at this level the rest of the way, UCF will have a great shot to win the American.
3. UCF has an identity
UCF Women’s Basketball has an identity that shows up every night. They bring defense just about every night and can overcome off nights on offense from their top players.
Diamond Battles went just 2/14 from the field with 8 points. The Knights overcame a 7/18 shooting from the free throw line at a place where UCF had only won twice in their previous 12 trips in program history.
UCF won because they play top-notch defense. That is who they are. They play unselfish basketball, as the Knights had 18 assists as a team, which is 2nd-most in a game this season. They know what roles they have for each game.
Coach Abe’s Knights are in the chase for the AAC Championship and making the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season. Another thing we know after Wednesday night: They are the best Basketball team on campus.
Up next, UCF goes to East Carolina on Saturday to take on the Pirates.