After opening the UCF Christmas Classic in dominant fashion, UCF Knights Women’s Hoops faced the Elon Phoenix on the event's second day. While the Knights started off slow shooting, starting guard Rachel Ranke rose up to help burn the Phoenix, 64-46
A Defensive Battle Early
The Knights came out cold, taking three minutes before putting up their first points, but it was a struggle they were able to overcome based on tough defense. In the opening quarter, UCF held Elon to 20% shooting from the field in the first half.
The Knights also won the rebounding battle 53 to 43 while freshman point guard Sierra Godbolt made her mark in the game as well with four steals.
Godbolt also made her presence felt with eight assists and six points during her 32 minutes of play.
Knights Lighting the Fire
As slow as UCF was to score to open the game, Rachel Ranke opened the floodgates. She scored 10 points in the second quarter before finishing with 21. Most of her points were from three-point land where she was five-of-eight. She also personified the versatility we’ve heard head coach Sytia Messer preach scoring in the post as well.
Not to be outdone, Destiny Thomas earned her title of “Old Faithful” given to her by Messer. Thomas led the team in rebounds yet again with 11 combined with 9 points. Despite these two stand-out performances, UCF as a team was a force in that every player that took the floor scored.
Nay Hutton also made an impact in her own right with nine rebounds and four points in her second game back from preseason injury.
What’s next for UCF?
With the UCF Christmas Classic now in the rearview as the start to a new winning streak, the Knights will face Texas Southern on December 29th after breaking for Christmas as their final contest in non-conference play. Messer commented after the game that the most important part of the schedule starts on January 7th with a Texas road game to face SMU.
She appreciated the opportunity to not only have her players rest for a bit but to also take advantage of practices with a proper set of bodies with players returning from injury and Ashley Foster transferring in from Georgia State.
While coach Messer addressed the growth of the team in the future, it was Hutton and Ranke who spoke for the team’s mentality in approaching it. Ranke talked about conference play as a whole new season and an opportunity for the team to make their mark.
Hutton remarked that while preseason rankings don’t mean anything, their being placed 8th shows that this UCF has something to prove in their final year in the American.