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UCF Women’s Hoops Opens Strong in Christmas Classic With New Faces

The Knights beat the Idaho State Bengals 67-50 in a game where the lead never changed.

Chris Syfrett

After a difficult slate of games and three straight losses, the UCF Christmas Classic brought gifts to UCF Knights Women’s Hoops fans.

Over and above the 67-50 victory to open the event over the Idaho State Bengals, the lineup saw two new additions to the rotation. After weeks of recovery from a preseason knee injury, forward Nay Hutton made her debut at Addition Financial arena along with Georgia State Transfer Ashley Foster.

Nay on Display

While she didn’t play significant minutes in the game as a whole, getting a preview of Anzhane Hutton should excite Knight fans thoroughly. In the preseason, head coach Sytia Messer compared her style to NBA all-time great Charles Barkley during Hoops Media Day.

That being said if this afternoon’s appearance is any taste of what’s to come, UCF should be excited. Over and above her three-of-three contribution to free throw shooting for 5 total points, “Nay”’s physical presence under the hoop is clear.

Moreover, despite this being her first year at UCF as a transfer and missing this much of the season so far, Hutton is a vocal and commanding presence on the floor for the team.

What Ashley Can Foster

Arriving fresh from Atlanta yesterday, Foster played 11 minutes scoring her first 3 points as a Knight. After the game, coach Messer talked about how different this team looked since last month when the season started and how many more bodies can take the floor to attack opponents in different ways.

“We feel like Ashley fits here as far as athleticism . . .,” Messer said. “Her coming off on-ball screens, it had to be a special fit and she’s doing that.”

Knight Profit From Charity

A huge point of emphasis going back two games ago against the Seton Hall Pirates was taking advantage of opportunities to turn fouls into points. UCF achieved that in spades by finishing the game by going 23-of-26 from the charity stripe. Of the seven players that took free throws, four of them didn’t miss any. Those four are guard Laila Jewett, forward Taylor Gibson, Hutton, and center Destiny Thomas off the bench.

As the leading scorer, starting guard Mya Burns put up 16 points with four-of-five shooting free throws. Jewett was also good for 12 points of her own with five rebounds.

Freshman guard Sierra Godbolt tied for the lead in steals while recording 14 points. Thomas also had four steals and four assists, in addition to recording yet another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Tomorrow at noon, The Knights face Elon Phoenix in their game against Loyola.