Last week, UCF Knights Women’s Hoops had a historical offensive performance putting up over 100 points for the first time since 1998. The key for head coach Sytia Messer to continue to show growth in her second season as head coach with her squad would be maintained success as they hosted the Anderson Trojans at Addition Financial Arena in a 96-73 blow win.
Trojans Slowed the Knights Charge Early
Give Anderson credit for coming from the road to hit seven of the first nine attempts and leading for the first 9:55 seconds of the contest. The Knights didn’t even earn the lead until Laila Jewett bombed a three from the corner on the assist from Timia Ware to make it 23-20 at the end of the first quarter.
Anderson kept it close heading into the locker room shooting 42% compared to UCF’s 34% from the field. The Trojans’ Diamond McDowell was the main force in the effort as the contest’s first double-digit scorer putting up her first 10 in the opening half.
McDowell finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks on the night as one of four Anderson starters to score 10 or more points. Zamiya Passmore had 17, Nelliah Wilson had 16 while Ashlyn Sheridan had 15.
Part of what kept UCF from falling prey to the Trojans' early run was nine of Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu’s 11 total points in the first 20 minutes.
As a transfer from Auburn last year, Robinson missed all of last season with a preseason ACL tear in her knee. The conclusion of her rehab journey was only made greater as she lifted up the Knights to keep the lead in the second half and for the rest of the contest.
Other elements of that effort were Jewett and Achol Akot. Akot finished with 14 points despite dealing with foul trouble and eventually fouling out with 6:32 left in the game.
The Final Push
After matching Anderson’s 15-point posting in the 2nd quarter, both teams also exchanged runs in the 3rd quarter. The Trojans’ run included a boost from three technical fouls with one on forward Taylor Gibson and two on the UCF bench.
With around 7:00 left in the 3rd quarter and Anderson within four points, Kaitlin Peterson appeared in a big way. Reprising her 31-point performance from the previous game, Peterson rattled off 10 points in the remainder of that period. Peterson finished with 18 featuring 15 2nd half points.
Not to be outdone, Mya Burns posted a double-double that featured 16 points with 10 rebounds. After a slow start shooting 3-of-12 from the field, Burns dug deep to continue grabbing rebounds and eventually find the net.
The First Test Is Coming
After opening the season tuning up in their first Big 12 season, the Knights face their first test in Auburn next Monday at 7 pm EST.
The last time UCF faced Auburn was last season in a 40-point blowout. While coach Messer mentioned it will be a game she and her team look forward to as a big test in the non-conference portion of the season, it holds a little bit more meaning for Robinson-Nwagwu who will finally be healthy enough to play her former program.
The Knights will be hoping to even the score before heading into the Puerto Rico Classic Tournament with three games over Thanksgiving week including teams such as Jackson State, St John’s, and Sacred Heart.