UCF Knights Women’s Basketball remains atop of the American Athletic Conference securing a series sweep in the AAC for the third consecutive contest. After toppling the league's two biggest threats in Houston and USF, Wichita State was added to the list of swept opponents. The Knight bolted past the Shockers 60-35.
“You can always play good defense. . .”
The Knights have been a slow-starting team throughout this season. But the key to them getting off the ground game-in and game-out has been the motto of head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. Whether or not shots are dropping, “you can always play good defense.”
While Wichita state made their first three shots beyond the arc, UCF kept it close by forcing several missed shots under the basket. Wichita State’s aggressive defense also denied passes into the post to slow forwards Masseny Kaba and Brittney Smith in their efforts to light the scoreboard.
While WSU’s aggression did result in UCF going to the charity stripe 10 times in the half, they only made five. Combine this with the Knights going 0-3 from beyond the arc in the half and 1-9 for the night, and they were down 19-17 at the half scoring only five points in the second quarter.
In the postgame press conference, @UCF_WBB’s @COACH_ABE explained what gave her #Knights fits to go down 19-17 at the half before eventually beating @GoShockersWBB, 60-35. #UCF #GKCO pic.twitter.com/84NP7kpAJa— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) February 17, 2022
The Shockers Lose their Electricity
With all they had going for them leading at the half, Wichita State found real trouble as UCF began to charge. The third quarter was a 21-6 run as the Shockers were held to single digits scoring for the second consecutive quarter. That Knights’ run then charged into the final quarter six more points were scored before the visiting team could find any more points.
From that time on UCF never looked back as guards Diamond Battles and Tay Sanders as well as forward Masseny Kaba all contributed 11 points. As a team, the ladies also caused 31 turnovers, 15 steals and out rebounded the Shockers 30-20. The defensive prowess showed by the Knights may be best assessed by the fact that Wichita State failed to score a field goal in the final 7:15 of the game — more than 70% of the fourth quarter.
Tay leads the way for us with 1️⃣1️⃣ points (and three steals )— UCF Women's Hoops (@UCF_WBB) February 17, 2022
We've got a 44-30 lead at the 4Q media timeout #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/7aNQ2MI8uB
And the Knights Charge On . . .
Saturday represents an ominous trip to Philadelphia where the Owls of Temple with welcome the Knights for their final road game for the year. UCF has had a tough time playing in Philly in past seasons, but fans hope Coach Abe and her squad can pull in the ‘W’ so that they might finally be Top 25 ranked for the first time in program history.
Having achieved a third sweep of a conference opponent for the third game in a row against @GoShockersWBB, @masseny_ talks about what @UCF_WBB’s keys to winning against @templewbb in Philly in the season’s final road game. #GKCO #UCF pic.twitter.com/NrjxsSbbak— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) February 17, 2022
After that, the ladies return home to close the season hosting Cincinnati in a rematch followed by Tulsa before preparing for postseason play. However, coaches and players alike refuse to look ahead with this point in the season. And who can blame them? As Coach Abe pointed out, this is a level of success that this program has yet to experience.