Defense Dominates as Knights Advance to AAC Championship Game

Box Score (PDF)

FORT WORTH, Texas - The No. 23/25 UCF women's basketball team is headed back to the American Athletic Conference Championship game for the third time in the last four years as the Knights' defense dominated in UCF's 61-28 win over SMU in the semifinals Wednesday afternoon at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Knights (24-3) held the Mustangs to just a 24.5 percent clip from the field as SMU (14-14) was held to single-digit points in three out of four quarters of play.
Scoring the first 11 points of the game and limiting SMU to just one field goal and a free throw, UCF held a 15-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter. The Mustangs were able to cut the deficit to single digits in the second quarter, but UCF closed out the half with a steal from Tay Sanders who found a streaking Shania Meertens for the buzzer-beating layup. The Knights led 28-15 at the break.
The UCF offense seemed to warm up out of the locker room, while the defense locked in. The Knights outscored the Mustangs 20-6 in the third period and led 48-21 entering the final 10 minutes. UCF again held SMU to single digits in the fourth on its way to a 61-28 victory.
SMU's 28 points are the fewest a UCF squad has allowed in the Division I era and the fewest a Knights opponent has scored since Feb. 12, 1983 when UCF defeated Eckerd 108-28.
The Knights have extended their win streak to 12 games, matching the longest win streak in program history.

Four Knights finished in double figures, led by Brittney Smith's 13 points. Diamond Battles added 11 points. Masseny Kaba chipped in 10 and Shania Meertens scored a season-best 10. Destiny Thomas pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Tay Sanders dished out five of UCF's 16 assists and was one of four Knights with two steals.

UCF will play the winner of No. 2 seed South Florida (23-7) and No. 6 Houston (16-14) in the conference title game tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.