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UCF to play Florida in NCAA Tournament First Round

Knights tabbed as 7 seed, highest in program history

NCAA Womens Basketball: American Conference Tournament Championship-Central Florida vs South Florida
The Knights celebrate their American Championship
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The UCF Knights Women’s Basketball team is a 7-seed in the Bridgeport region in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and will face the 10-seed Florida Gators in the first round on Saturday, March 19th, in Storrs, Connecticut.

Time for the game is yet to be determined. The entire tournament will be televised on the ESPN family of networks.

The reaction:

The 7 seed is the highest in program history. It’s also the fifth automatic bid in school history, and the third bid in as many tournaments for UCF (the 2020 Tournament was canceled due to the onset of COVID-19).

Here is what Diamond Battles and Masseny Kaba had to say about it afterwards:

The winner will face the winner of 2-seed UConn and 15-seed Mercer in the second round.

UCF has never won an NCAA Tournament game in its history. Breaking through against Florida would be twice as sweet.

Coach Abe discussed the moment:

About Florida

UCF is 0-26 all time vs. Florida, dating back to the Knights’ first year of women’s basketball in 1978.

The last meeting between the two was on December 30th, 2015 — a 93-79 loss in Jacksonville. But the two schools have met only twice since UCF joined Conference USA in 2005.

Florida finished 21-10 overall and 10-6 in the SEC, good enough for fifth place. They are ranked 45th in the latest NET Rankings (UCF is 21st), and are receiving votes in both polls after being ranked as high as 15th in the AP Top 25 as recently as late February.

They lost their final three games of the regular season, and following a victory in the first round, lost to Ole Miss in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Head coach Kelly Rae Finley is officially their interim head coach, having taken over for Cameron Newbauer after he resigned following the uncovering of evidence of verbal and physical abuse of his players. Finley subsequently has led the Gators to their first NCAA Tournament since 2016, when Amanda Butler was head coach, and is a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award.

The Gators that year were upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 61-59, by Albany. The Great Danes’ Head Coach that year: Coach Abe.