Milestone on Monday

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - For the first time as a member of the American Athletic Conference, the UCF women's basketball team closed out the regular season with a win, defeating ECU 75-54 in CFE Arena on Monday evening.

"I think we just wanted a win for the seniors," UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "We wanted to win on this floor. We just wanted to finish the regular season. We had a thing for February where we wanted to finish out February. Obviously, we are getting ready to go into March, but most importantly, we wanted to get this win for the seniors."

UCF (20-9, 12-4 The American) jumped out to a scorching start, shooting 76.9 percent from the floor to take a 24-9 lead over ECU (15-14, 7-10 The American) after one quarter of action. The Knights continued their hot shooting, hitting 61.5 percent of their shots in the second quarter and took a 44-24 lead into the locker rooms.

"I think (the 8-0 start to the game) started the whole momentum for us," redshirt senior Zakiya Saunders said. "We got out in our press, slowed them down a little bit, got some steals and that led the tempo for the rest of the game."

Redshirt junior Nyala Shuler gave the Knights their largest lead of the evening, 58-31, sinking a free throw with 2:29 left in the third quarter. UCF held a double-digit lead over the Pirates for the remainder of the contest, securing a 75-54 victory.

Aliyah Gregory led all scorers with 14 points, hitting six of her seven field goals. Masseny Kaba added 11 points, and Korneila Wright and Zakiya Saunders each chipped in 10 points. Nyala Shuler just missed a double-double, grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with nine points. Wright tallied a game-high eight assists, while Saunders swiped a game-high four steals.

The Knights posted their 20th win of the regular season for the first time since 1984-1985.

  • Monday's victory over the Pirates marked just the second time that UCF reached 20 wins during the regular season in the Division I era.
  • The last time UCF posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns came in 1983-84 (23-7) and 1984-85 (20-10).
  • UCF also reached 12 wins in league play for the first time since 2010-11 when the Black and Gold posted a 12-4 record in Conference USA.
  • The last time UCF had a victorious ending to the regular season came on March 3, 2011 when the Knights defeated Memphis, 70-52, to conclude C-USA regular season action.

Aliyah Gregory on the 20-win season: "I think that's been great for us (being able to pull off 20 wins). We've done very well in the month of January and February. We put in the necessary work throughout the season and the pre-season in order to put ourselves in this position. It feels good to see all of our hard work paying off."

All 10 Knights contributed in the win.

  • UCF saw all 10 members of its squad score at least one point and collect at least one rebound.
  • Four Knights reached double figures and Nyala Shuler led all rebounders with 12 boards.
  • Shuler joined the UCF career top-10 with 595 rebounds as a Knight.
  • Six members of UCF's squad combined for 15 assists on 29 made field goals.
  • Korneila Wright led the way with eight assists, joining the UCF career top 10. The sophomore's 258 assists rank ninth all-time for the Knights.

UCF will face the winner of No. 6 Wichita State - No. 11 Temple in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Aaron's American Athletic Conference Championship. The third-seeded Knights earned a bye for the second straight year and will play at noon on March 4 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

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