Wright Named Preseason Player of the Year

The American Release

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. ( –   Coming off its best season as members of the American Athletic Conference, the UCF women's basketball team has earned high praise from the league's head coaches in the preseason poll, which was announced on Monday. Senior Kay Kay Wright has been named the Co-Preseason Player of the Year and the Knights were voted to finish third in the league.
A first team all-conference selection in 2018-19, Wright became the first Knight to be tabbed as a preseason player of the year in The American. She also made her first appearance on the preseason all-conference first team.
"I am so excited and grateful for this preseason accolade," Wright said. "I have worked very hard to get to this point, and it feels good to know all my hard work isn't going unnoticed in The American. However, my main focus isn't on me; it is on my team winning games and finishing my senior year with a bang."
Last season Wright 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. In her first two seasons combined, she had registered one 20-point contest. In 29 regular season games, she accomplished the feat 14 times, including six of the last eight contests.
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.
Wright becomes the first Knight since Emma Cannon to be tabbed as a league preseason player of the year. Cannon earned the distinction in 2009 when the Knights competed in Conference USA.
For the third year in a row, the Knights earned their highest preseason selection as members of The American. After back-to-back years of being selected fourth, UCF garnered enough points to tie Cincinnati for third on the preseason poll. The Black and Gold also picked up a first place vote from the league coaches. The third place ranking marked UCF's highest preseason selection since 2011 in Conference USA.
The Knights finished the 2018-19 campaign with a 26-7 record, setting a program record for wins in a season. A 13-3 mark in The American gave UCF its highest finish in the conference for the third consecutive season, and the Knights posted a runner-up finish as the second seed at The American Championship.

Head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson has led UCF to the postseason in each of her three seasons at the helm – beginning with back-to-back WNIT bids and a berth in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Since taking over, Coach "ABE" has guided UCF to three-consecutive 20-win campaigns for the first time in the program's Division I era.
Diamond Battles, Masseny Kaba, Sianni Martin and Brittney Smith join Wright among the returnees for 2019-20 and the Knights welcome nine newcomers into the fold. The 2019-20 campaign begins on Nov. 6 when the Knights host Pitt at 11 a.m. in Addition Financial Arena.
Fans excited for the upcoming 2019-20 UCF women's basketball season can purchase tickets today by calling (407) 823-1000.
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Preseason Poll
1. UConn (11)                  121
2. USF                               107
T-3. UCF (1)                     96
T-3. Cincinnati                 96
5. Houston                       81
6. Temple                         68
7. Tulane                          59
8. Memphis                     42
9. Wichita State              37
10. Tulsa                          33
11. ECU                            31
12. SMU                           21
Co-Preseason Players of the Year
Kay Kay Wright, UCF
Crystal Dangerfield, UConn

Preseason All-Conference
First Team

Kay Kay Wright, UCF
Crystal Dangerfield, UConn*
Megan Walker, UConn
Mia Davis, Temple*
Krystal Freeman, Tulane
Second Team
Antoinette Miller, Cincinnati
IImar'I Thomas, Cincinnati
Christyn Williams, UConn
Dorian Branch, Houston
Enna Pehadzic, USF

*denotes unanimous selection