Smith Named Preseason All-Conference First Team

The American Release

ORLANDO – While nothing has been normal over the last several months, the American Athletic Conference's Wednesday announcement of its preseason awards showed that one thing remains unchanged -- the UCF women's basketball team is one of the top teams in the conference. Junior Brittney Smith was named Preseason All-Conference First Team and the Knights were voted to finish second in the league.
Smith, who earned a third team all-conference nod in 2019-20, stepped up offensively for the Knights last season to finish as the team's second-leading scorer. She averaged 11.7 points per game in league play. Overall, she averaged 10.5 points per game and was also the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 boards per contest.
The forward entered last season having never reached double-figures in her career. Smith had 15 double-digit performances in 2019-20, with 10 of those coming during league play. The Orlando native opened conference play with a career-high 21-point performance in a victory over ECU on Jan. 5. She added a second 20-point performance in the Jan. 22 contest at Tulane.

Making one of the largest jumps among conference players, Smith's numbers in nearly every statistical category improved last season. She ranked 14th in offensive rebounding (2.3), 15th in free throw percentage (68.5), 19th in scoring (11.7) and tied for 19th in rebounding (5.4). She was also among the top five in field goal percentage throughout league play, hitting 50.3 percent of her shots during the 16-game league slate.
Smith is the third Knight to earn preseason first team honors in The American, joining Aliyah Gregory (2017-18) and Kay Kay Wright (2019-20).
UCF earned its highest preseason selection as members of The American for the fourth consecutive year. The Knights were voted second in a conference preseason poll for the first time since 2004 when they were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Black and Gold also picked up a first place vote from the league coaches for the second straight season.
The Knights finished the 2019-20 league slate with an 11-5 record, finishing second in the conference standings for a second-straight year.
South Florida claimed the top spot in the preseason poll for the first time in league history. UCF edged Tulane for the second spot, while Cincinnati was voted fourth.
Since taking over in 2016, UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson has led the Black and Gold to four consecutive 20-win campaigns. The Knights earned a first-round bye in four straight AAC tournaments and were the second seed at both the 2019 and 2020 tournaments. Coach ABE has guided the Knights to three postseason appearances, and had her squad in the mix for a fourth before the cancellation of spring championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Black and Gold return four starters for the 2020-21 campaign in Smith, Masseny Kaba, Courtajia Sanders and Diamond Battles. In all, UCF returns seven Knights that saw action last season.
2020-21 American Athletic Conference
Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

Team (First-Place Votes)Points
1. USF (8)98
2. UCF (1)79
3. Tulane78
4. Cincinnati (2)73
5. Temple57
6. Wichita State54
7. Houston49
8. Memphis40
9. East Carolina36
10. SMU31
11. Tulsa10

Preseason Co-Players of the Year
IImar'I Thomas, Cincinnati
Mia Davis, Temple
Preseason All-Conference
First Team
Brittney Smith, UCF
IImar'I Thomas, Cincinnati*
Lashonda Monk, ECU
Mia Davis, Temple*
Krystal Freeman, Tulane*
Second Team
Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, Memphis
Elisa Pinzan, South Florida
Elena Tsineke, South Florida
Arsula Clark, Tulane
Mariah McCully, Wichita State
*denotes unanimous selection
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