No. 2 UCF Begins C-USA Championship in El Paso Thursday against No. 7 UAB

March 9, 2011

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

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By Pat Salvas

EL PASO, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - With the regular season over, the UCF women's basketball team now turns its attention to the 2011 Buick Conference USA Championship hosted by UTEP. The Knights earned the No. 2 seed and the bye into Thursday's quarterfinals with a 12-4 conference record in 2010-11; their best mark since joining the league in 2005-06.

UCF will take on No. 7 UAB in its opening game after the Blazers defeated No. 10 Marshall, 56-45, in Wednesday's first-round game. The Knights defeated the Blazers in both games this season, including a 53-50 win in Birmingham on Feb. 24. UCF took the earlier contest, 65-55, in Orlando back on Jan. 13.

Taking an eight-game win streak into the postseason, the Knights are one of the hottest teams in C-USA. Top-seeded Houston finished with just the second perfect season (16-0) in conference history, including narrowly edging UCF, 71-68, in Orlando on Jan. 27.

The first two rounds of the women's C-USA Championship will be played at Memorial Gym before moving over to the Don Haskins Center, which is hosting the entire men's bracket, for the semifinals and finals. A win by the Knights against the Blazers on Thursday would mean they would play the 11 a.m. EST semifinal on Friday from the Haskins Center.

The conference title game is slated for an 8 p.m. EST start time Saturday night. Both semifinal contests and the championship game will be broadcast nationally on CBS College.

The entire 2011 Buick C-USA Basketball Championship will be broadcast through the UCF Sports Network presented by IMG College via Genesis Communications and can be heard on WIXC 1060 AM. Saturday's title game will be broadcast on WAMT 1190 AM. All games can also be heard live on UCFathletics.com. As always, Scott Adams will handle the play-by-play duties live from El Paso for the entire tournament.

Thursday's Game
After UCF lost in the first round of each of its first three C-USA Championship appearances, the Knights have earned first-round victories in each of the last two seasons. That will not be a factor this season as the team's No. 2 seed secured a first-round bye into the quarterfinals. UCF will play in Thursday's first quarterfinal of the day with tip-off set for 2 p.m. EST.

Scouting No. 7 UAB
UAB backed into the Championship with losses in three of its last five games. The Blazers did finish the season with an overall winning record of 15-14, but were 7-9 in conference games to earn the No. 7 seed. Point Guard Amber Jones leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.5 points per game. UCF won the first meeting between the two teams, 65-55 at home, but was tested with one of its closest games of the season in a 53-50 win in Birmingham on Feb. 24.

All-Time Series
UAB leads the all-time series with UCF, 11-6, despite being swept this season. The two programs have never met in the conference tourney.

Senior Night Success
The five-member senior class finished its final regular season in winning fashion, defeating Memphis, 72-52, Thursday night at the UCF Arena. Playing in her final home game, Chelsie Wiley scored a game-high 19 points and was 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc to lead her team to a win over the Tigers. D'Nay Daniels also contributed double-digit scoring, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Fitting Tribute
Junior guard Aisha Patrick chose to honor injured senior Angelica Mealing, who was unable to play on Senior Night, in grand fashion Thursday night. Patrick opted to wear Mealing's No. 3 uniform against Memphis, rather than her own No. 10 to pay tribute to her teammate. Patrick's game mimicked that of Mealing's as the junior matched her team season high of nine assists.

Kelly Kicks It Up
For just the second time this season, junior Ashia Kelly scored in double figures with 14 points against the Tigers in the regular-season finale. Kelly also tied her career high, pulling down eight rebounds in the win.

Second Teammers
Both Wiley and Daniels were honored for their senior season performances with spots on the All-C-USA Second Team. It marked the first time since joining the league that the Knights had two members on the conference's second team in the same season.

Getting Defensive
Patrick joined Wiley and Daniels with an all-conference selection. However, Patrick was not named to the league's top three teams, but rather to the All-C-USA Defensive Team. She becomes the first player in program history to be selected to the conference's top defensive team.

Postseason History
This senior class has some experience with success in the C-USA Championship, claiming the title with a four-game run as sophomores, capped by an overtime win over Southern Miss to take the championship. Last season, the Knights defeated Marshall in overtime of the first round before falling by one point, 63-62, to Tulane in the quarterfinals.

Keep It Rolling
UCF's win over Memphis in the final regular season contest of 2010-11 pushed its win streak to eight games heading into the conference tourney. The Knights ended the 2008-09 regular season with three straight wins before pushing that streak to seven with the four-game run to the league title. The current eight-game win streak is the longest since UCF rattled off nine in a row in 2003-04.

Rebounding Title
With seven boards in the final game of the regular season, Daniels just edged Patrick for the team-lead in rebounds. Daniels finished with 224 boards, while Patrick grabbed 223 in 2010-11. Daniels was the only member of the team with more than 100 offensive rebounds, finishing with 111 on the year. Patrick had a team-best 143 rebounds at the defensive end of the floor over the course of the season.

First Time to 19
For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the Knights won 19 games in a season. The last time UCF posted 19 victories came in its final year in the A-Sun before joining Conference USA the following season.

From Three
Wiley became just the second player in program history to reach 200 three-point field goals in a career. The senior guard did it in style, matching her season high of six in a game, including four in the second half to stop a late Southern Miss comeback bid. Five more trifectas against Memphis give Wiley 207 in her career, just six back of first-place Francine Houston's (`07) 213 career trifectas.

Perfect Month
February might be the shortest month of the calendar year, but UCF made the most of it, winning all seven games it played. Dating back to the 2008-09 season, the Knights are 24-8 in games played in February on. Last season, UCF was 7-4 after Feb. 1. When the Knights won the league title in 2009, UCF was 9-4 from the start of the month through the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.

Alls Well That Ends Well
With the 18-point win over Memphis, UCF has now won its regular-season finale in each of the last four seasons. The last time the Knights dropped their final game before the league tournament was during head coach Joi Williams' first season at the helm in the 2006-07 campaign, coming to ECU.

Record Season
This season, Patrick has moved into the top 10 in program history in two categories. Her 268 career assists rank seventh, while her 213 steals are fourth on the program's all-time list.

On the Rise
UCF's RPI continues to rise on the strength of the current win streak. The Knights jumped up another six spots to No. 72 this week. UCF has moved up 19 spots in the rankings in the last three weeks.