Pair Recognized By The American

UNCASVILLE, Conn. ( – For the third consecutive year, a pair of Knights have earned recognized by the American Athletic Conference for their performance during the 2018-19 season. Kay Kay Wright was named to The American All-Conference First Team and Kayla Thigpen was tabbed as the Sixth Player of the Year.


"I'm very proud that the hard work Kay Kay and Kayla have put in this year was recognized by the coaches in the league," UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said.


Wright, who is just the second Knight to earn first team honors, improved her all-around game, stepping up her scoring while maintaining her high level of defensive intensity and distribution of the ball during her junior campaign. In 16 league games, she reached double figures 13 times, with nine of those being 20-point performances.


As a freshman, Wright averaged 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, she doubled her scoring, averaging 10.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. She has improved those marks again as a junior, averaging 18.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Entering this season, she had registered one 20-point contest in her first two seasons combined. In 29 regular season games, she accomplished the feat 14 times, including six of the last eight contests.


"Kay Kay knew that she would have to take on more of a scoring role this season," Coach "ABE" said. "She worked extremely hard over the last two summers and it has shown every time she has stepped on the floor."


The Orlando native finished league play ranked in the top 10 in five different statistical categories. She was second among conference players in steals (2.5) and free throw percentage (84.3), third in minutes played (35.4), fourth in scoring (17.7) and eighth in assists (3.8). Less than a month before conference play began, she tied the conference single game record for free throws, sinking 16 in UCF’s Dec. 17 win over Pacific.


Thigpen became the first Knight to collect an individual award in The American, coming off the bench to earn the Sixth Player of the Year honor.


"Kayla has flourished back in her natural position," Coach "ABE" said. "She has been so unselfish, doing what she needed to help our team win."


The West Palm Beach, Fla., native accounted for nearly 41 percent of UCF’s bench points in the 12 games that she saw action as a reserve. Thigpen opened league play coming off the bench to score a career-high 20 points at Memphis. She followed with eight more double-figure outings in conference action, finishing as UCF’s second-leading scorer with 10.2 points per game. She ranked among the top 25 conference players in field goal percentage (42.5), free throw percentage (68.5) and scoring (10.2).


UCF (24-5, 13-3 The American) posted its best finish in The American for the third straight season, earning the No. 2 spot in this weekend’s tournament. The Knights not only tallied their most wins in league play, they posted the most conference victories since the 2004-05 Atlantic Sun squad that went 16-4. 

The second-seeded Knights earned a bye for the third consecutive year and will play at 6 p.m. on March 9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. UCF will face the winner of No. 7 Tulsa and No. 10 Wichita State in the quarterfinals of the 2019 American Athletic Conference Championship. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.


2019 American Athletic Conference
Women’s Basketball Regular-Season Awards

Player of the Year
Napheesa Collier, UConn
Freshman of the Year
Christyn Williams, UConn
Coach of the Year
Geno Auriemma, UConn
Defensive Player of the Year
Napheesa Collier, UConn
Most Improved Player of the Year
Krystal Freeman, Tulane
Newcomer of the Year
Florence Sifa, Cincinnati
Sixth Player of the Year
Kayla Thigpen, UCF
Ambassador Award
Sierra Cheatham, Tulane
First Team All-Conference
Kay Kay Wright, UCF
IImar’I Thomas, Cincinnati
Napheesa Collier, UConn*
Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn*
Crystal Dangerfield, UConn
Mia Davis, Temple
Second Team All-Conference
Antoinette Miller, Cincinnati
Dorian Branch, Houston
Enna Pehadzic, USF
Alliya Butts, Temple
Krystal Freeman, Tulane
Third Team All-Conference
Megan Walker, UConn
Lashonda Monk, ECU
Angela Harris, Houston
Alicia Froling, SMU
Crystal Polk, Tulsa
All-Freshman Team
Christyn Williams, UConn*
Jamirah Shutes, Memphis*
Sydni Harvey, USF*
Kayla White, SMU*
Dynah Jones, Tulane
Carla Bremaud, Wichita State*