UCF Squares Off With Ohio State Saturday in First Round of NCAA Tournament

March 18, 2011

Complete NCAA Game Notes in PDF Format

Read John Denton's Knights Insider | Follow us on Twitter | Get social with the Knights on Facebook

By Pat Salvas

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UCFAthletics.com) - Exactly one week after winning the Conference USA Championship with an 85-73 victory over Tulane in El Paso, the UCF women's basketball team will take on Ohio State in the First Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio. The Knights and Buckeyes will tip-off from St. John Arena 30 minutes after the completion of the first game or roughly 1:50 p.m. in a matchup that will be seen by a national audience on ESPN2.

Coverage of the game will begin on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m.

UCF earned its second trip to the Big Dance with the C-USA Championship and the league's automatic berth. Monday night, while gathered at associate head coach Greg Brown's home, the Knights learned they would be the No. 13 seed in the Dayton Regional as they watched the selection show on ESPN. That seed earned them a first-round matchup with the hosts from Ohio who had been seeded fourth in the regional.

Senior Jelisa Caldwell is coming off arguably the best game of her career as she recorded her first-career double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds to earn C-USA Championship MVP honors. Fellow seniors Chelsie Wiley and D'Nay Daniels were also recognized for their play during UCF's three-game championship run in El Paso with spots on the conference's all-tournament team.

The Knights and Buckeyes will play the second game of the day from St. John Arena as No. 5 Georgia Tech and No. 12 Bowling Green will play in the first, scheduled for an 11:20 a.m. tip-off.

With UCF's win over Tulane to clinch its second league title in three years, the team stretched its winning streak to 11 games, the longest for the program since 1983-84. They will put that mark on the line against an Ohio State team that used a nine-game run of its own to capture its third straight Big 10 title with a win over Penn State Sunday in Indianapolis.

The Buckeyes are led by the four-time Big 10 Player of the Year Jantel Lavender, who is averaging 22.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in her final season in Columbus.

Jon Sciambi will provide play-by-play on ESPN2's coverage of the game with Stephen Bardo adding color commentary. As always Scott Adams will have the radio call on UCFathletics.com Presented by IMG College and on WAMT 1190 AM.

The winners of Saturday's games between the Knights and Buckeyes and Yellow Jackets and Falcons will meet Monday night at 7 p.m. in the Second Round.

Welcome Back
UCF returns to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus with a second Conference USA Championship in hand. The Knights knocked off defending champion Tulane, 85-73, to claim the league title and the conference's automatic berth into the Big Dance.

What We Know
The Knights earned the No. 13 seed in the Dayton Regional and will play No. 4 seed Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, March 19 in the First Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. UCF and Ohio State will play in historic St. John Arena in the second game of the day, tentatively scheduled for 1:50 p.m.

Who Else is Here?
The first game of the day at St. John Arena will take place at 11:20 a.m. between No. 5 seed Georgia Tech and No. 12 Bowling Green. The Yellow Jackets earned the fifth seed with a 23-10 overall record, while the Falcons come to Columbus sporting a 28-4 mark this season.

Last Time This Far
UCF has advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times previously. In the most recent appearance in 2009, No. 14-seeded UCF fell to No. 3 seeded North Carolina, 85-80, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Knights scored the final 12 points of the game in a comeback bid that fell just short. UCF lost in the first rounds of both the 1996 and 1999 tournaments to Louisiana Tech. UCF also qualified for the national tournament twice while in Division II (1983, 84).

Banner Year
UCF won its second C-USA Championship in three seasons with its 12-point win Saturday night in El Paso over Tulane, 85-73. The Knights and Green Wave played a close game until the final 10 minutes of play when UCF began to pull away and hold on for the win.

Senior Jelisa Caldwell was not going to be denied in the championship game. Caldwell scored 27 points, the second highest figure of her career, and pulled down a career-high 12 boards to earn C-USA Championship Most Valuable Player honors and a spot on the conference's all-tournament team.

Great Timing
Caldwell's 27-point, 12-rebound performance marked the first time in her career that she recorded a double-double. Caldwell joins Aisha Patrick and D'Nay Daniels as the only three players on the Knights to record a double-double this season.

All-Conference Honors
Seniors Chelsie Wiley and D'Nay Daniels both earned all-conference second team honors for their play during the regular season. Following Saturday's game with Tulane, the two were also honored with spots on the conference's all-tournament team. Daniels led the Knights with 15.3 ppg, while Wiley was fourth with 12.7 ppg after starting the tournament slowly against UAB.

Stat Pat
Junior Aisha Patrick's stat line against the Green Wave was one of the most impressive of the season by any player on the Knights. Patrick's fourth double-double of the year came by scoring 11 points and adding 12 rebounds, tying her with Caldwell for the game high in boards. She also added six assists and a matched her own team season high of seven steals.

Facts and Figures
UCF improved to 19-3 on the year when leading at the half and 2-2 when playing on a Saturday. The Knights also remain unbeaten since the beginning of February (11-0) and when tallying more than 80 points this season (4-0).

The Streak Continues...
A 10-game winning streak became 11 on Saturday with the win over Tulane. The 11-game win streak ties the program's longest run since the 1983-84 season when UCF was a Division II program. That year, the Knights used an 11-game run to capture the 1984 Sunshine State Conference Championship, defeating Florida Southern in the title game, 62-61. This season's Knights won their 11th straight in the C-USA title game.

RPI Update
UCF will head to Columbus with a Top 60 RPI ranking this week. On the strength of their current 11-game win streak, the Knights have an RPI of 59, jumping up 13 spots from 72 last week. UCF was No. 80 on Feb. 22 and has been in the top 100 since late January.

Out of the Gate
Hot UCF tallied 85 points against Tulane, the most in a C-USA Championship final game since 2004. It ties as the third-highest figure for such contests.

The Knights scored more than 80 points in both the semifinals and finals of the league tournament, defeating Memphis, 81-63, and Tulane, 85-73. The last time UCF scored 80 or more points in consecutive games was at the beginning of the 2009-10 season when it beat Bethune Cookman, 80-46, at the UCF Arena and Jacksonville on the road, 84-68.

Tied the Record
Wiley hit one 3-pointer to move into a first-place tie in UCF history for most career treys (213), equaling former-Knight Francine Houston ('07). Ironically, the initial ruling on the floor was that the shot was a two-point field goal. But after review by the officials, it was determined that Wiley was behind the line and the shot was in fact a 3-pointer. Wiley did not connect on another the remainder of the game and remains tied with Houston for the top spot on the program's all-time list.

Six Times Two
Six UCF players scored in double figures against the Green Wave in the league title game. Led by Caldwell (27), Wiley (13), Daniels (12), and Patrick (11), the Knights also got double-digit scoring totals from junior Ashia Kelly (10) and sophomore Gevenia Carter (10). UCF had five players score in double figures last Friday against Memphis; marking the first time this season the team had reached that figure, only to best it in the championship game.

Good Position to Be In
The Knights claimed their second league title in 2011 as the No. 2 seed last weekend in El Paso. The No. 2 seed has now won the league title five times, more than any other seed in league history. UCF was a No. 5 in 2009 when it won its first championship.

Third Times a Charm
UCF and Tulane had met in the conference tournament twice before last weekend's championship with the Green Wave taking both prior contests. Last season's quarterfinal win ended the Knights' bid at repeating as league champions. Tulane also eliminated UCF, 69-52, in the first-ever C-USA postseason game for the Knights on March 2, 2006.

2009 Title Game
UCF had been to the championship game once before in 2009. The Knights defeated Southern Miss in overtime on Tulane's home floor to claim its first C-USA crown in program history.

Streak Stats
UCF is 4-0 both at home and on the road, while 3-0 on neutral floors during the current 11-game streak. Wiley leads all players with 14.6 ppg, while Patrick's 8.3 rpg are good for the team lead. The Knights are beating opponents by an average of 10 points per game (68.5-58.5). UCF has two 18-point wins during the streak, both coming against Memphis: 70-52, in the regular season finale and 81-63 in the tournament semifinals.

Getting Over the Hump
UCF is 4-0 in C-USA tournament games played in the semifinals and finals. The 2009 and 20011 championship runs mark the only two instances when UCF has made it past the quarterfinals.

Against the Big Ten
UCF has played just three Big Ten opponents prior to the matchup with Ohio State this weekend. The Knights are 0-2 vs. Purdue and 0-1 against Wisconsin. UCF first played Purdue on Jan. 9, 1982, losing 67-65. The two then met again in 2003-04 with the Boilermakers winning 87-52. The Badgers and Knights played on Nov. 28, 2008 with Wisconsin taking the victory, 65-61.

Beat Them Big
The 18-point margin of victory (81-63) against the Tigers was the largest in C-USA semifinal action history. The prior standard was 17, set in both 2003 and 2008.

Connecting from Downtown
The Knights connected on 55.0 percent (11-20) of their 3-pointers against Memphis. That figure rates as the eighth-highest in C-USA Tournament history and also marked the first time since last December that the Knights shot over 50 percent from long range in a game.

Coming from Behind
The Knights' comeback victory over UAB in the quarterfinals was a game of several firsts for the team this season. It marked the first time in 2010-11 that UCF won a game after trailing at the half (0-7). That 15-point deficit at the break was also the largest overcome this season by the Knights to win a game. UCF trailed by 10 with seven and a half minutes remaining to Tulane on Feb. 17 before coming back to win in overtime, 73-69.

Career Days
When They Count Kelly connected on a career-high four 3-pointers against Memphis. Kelly's previous high of three in a game came against ECU at home on Feb. 20. The junior forward finished the game 4-of-6 from long range, including 3-of-4 in the first half.

Dishing Them Out
Patrick combined to dish out 16 assists against the Tigers in two of three team games. Closing out the regular season wearing No. 3 to honor injured senior Angelica Mealing, Patrick matched her season high with nine assists. Against the Tigers on in last Friday's semifinals, Patrick had seven to lead all players.

Experience Matters
Head coach Joi Williams will be making her 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. As an assistant coach at Florida from 1990-2002, Williams went to the tourney nine times, including to the Elite Eight in 1997. This will be her second time to the Big Dance as a head coach, both with the Knights.