UCF Set For First War On I-4 Matchup

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ORLANDO – The War on I-4 has arrived for the UCF women's basketball team. The Knights open the rivalry series in Tampa on Tuesday.
UCF (13-2, 11-1 The American) and No. 13 South Florida (14-2, 12-1* The American) tip at 5:30 p.m. ET  on ESPN+.
Date: Tuesday, March 2
Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN+ 
Live Stats

• Six points are up for grabs this week as UCF and South Florida play twice to close out the regular season.
• UCF holds an 18-6 advantage in the 2020-21 edition with victories by its men's tennis and football teams. The Knights also picked up six points at the cross country championship. Men's basketball split its season series, with each side adding three points, and the Bulls added three points in men's soccer.
• UCF won the inaugural 2016-17 trophy, 51-33, and the 2017-18 edition 49-35. The Knights won their third straight overall War on I-4 trophy with a final tally of 70-14. Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the spring sports in 2020, UCF led the War On I-4 rivalry series 36-9.
• UCF has secured a top two finish for the third straight year with two games left in the regular season.
• The Knights are a half game behind South Florida in the league standings with two meetings with the Bulls on the docket this week. South Florida needs one victory to secure the regular season title while two wins for the Black and Gold flip the crown to UCF.
• UCF is the only team in each of the last five years to earn a top four finish and first round bye at the conference tournament.
• The top six seeds will all have a first round bye at the 2021 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference Championship, which begins March 8 in Fort Worth, Texas.
• UCF is led by Courtajia Sanders, who matched her career high with 22 points in the win over Temple, averaging 12.0 points per game. Brittney Smith is just outside a double-figure scoring average at 9.9 points per contest.
• Diamond Battles leads the Knights with 3.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game and is averaging 9.2 points per contest.
• Smith collected a career-best 13 rebounds in the win over Tulsa on Feb. 20, bumping her average to 6.2 boards per contest to pace the Knights.
• Alisha Lewis, who has been UCF's leading scorer during its current eight-game win streak, averages 8.5 points per game on the season. Lewis dished out a career-high eight dimes against the Owls and is second on the squad with 3.2 assists per contest.
• Masseny Kaba is the second-leading rebounder at 5.7 per game. Kaba also averages 7.8 points per game for UCF.

• In typical UCF fashion during the Coach ABE era, the Knights are among the best in the country defensively.
• In each of her five seasons at the helm, UCF has held its opponents under 57 points per game. The Knights are holding opponents to 49.5 points per game, not only the best mark under Coach ABE, but also in program history.
• UCF leads the nation in scoring defense. Eight of the Knights' 14 opponents have been held below 50 points, with three (Virginia, Houston, Temple) held under 40.
• The Knights have held four teams to their season lows this season - Virginia, Houston, Temple and Cincinnati.
• The Black and Gold are also holding their opponents to a 33.3 field goal percentage this season, which ranks fourth in the country.
• In each game this season, UCF has forced its opponent into double-digit turnovers, and ranks 29th nationally in turnovers forced (19.60).
The Bulls, who were ranked 13th in both the AP and  are 14-2 overall, with a 12-1 mark in league play. The American has declared a forfeit win for USF against Memphis for conference-standings purposes only as a result of the scheduled game from Jan. 17 that was not played. The teams' overall records are not affected.
A trio of Bulls average double figures, led by Elena Tsineke's 12.7 points per game. Sydni Harvey averages 11.6 points per game and Bethy Mununga averages a double-double with 11.2 points per game and 12.6 rebounds per contest. Elisa Pinzan dishes out 6.9 assists per contest and 1.8 steals per game.
The Bulls lead the all-time series 25-10, including a 14-3 edge in Tampa. UCF has won the last four matchups.

UCF rounds out the regular season with a second War on I-4 matchup, hosting the Bulls in Addition Financial Arena on March 4.
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