Knights Women's Basketball Preparing for Road Matchup at Auburn

ORLANDO – After wrapping up a perfect 4-0 homestand with their 67-55 win over the Sam Houston Bearkats Thursday night, the UCF Knights women's basketball team now faces just its second road game of the young season against the Auburn Tigers with a 3 p.m. tipoff Saturday afternoon at Neville Arena. The contest can be streamed on ESPN+.

The Knights (6-0, 0-0 AAC) will take the floor one win shy of tying the 1984-85 team for the longest win streak to start a season in program history, at seven straight wins. The weekend matchup will also represent only the Knights' second meeting in program history with the Tigers, and the first since the 1985-86 team opened the season with a 95-74 loss at Auburn.

Leading the charge for UCF is senior forward Destiny Thomas, who on Thursday set career-highs with 22 points and 18 rebounds to record her third straight game with a double-double and her fourth overall this season. Through six games, Thomas is averaging a double-double per game, producing 13.8 points and 11.2 rebounds to lead her team in both categories, and she has also recorded multiple steals in four of her six games.

"Twenty-two points and 18 rebounds is amazing," said head coach Sytia Messer after Thursday's win. "We've asked Destiny from an offensive standpoint, we need more, and she stepped up. We went to her back-to-back times in the fourth quarter, and she executed and made baskets. She's a one-man wrecking showdown and we're so proud of her."

The Knights' offense is complemented by three other players averaging north of nine points per game as well, in Laila Jewett (11.7), Taylor Gibson (9.5) and Mya Burns (9.3), with Gibson and Bryana Hardy averaging 5.7 and 5.5 rebounds per game, respectively. Jewett's early-season resume is notably highlighted by a career-high 34-point performance that led UCF past the Samford Bulldogs in double overtime during the UCF Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 26.

UCF also boasts a defense that ranks fourth overall among Division I schools in opponent field goal rate at 30.7 percent, as well as 21st overall in scoring defense, allowing 52.2 points per game. The group will be tasked with slowing a potent Auburn offense that averages 75 points per game and has topped 81 points in three of its first seven games.

Auburn (5-2, 0-0 SEC) will be led by junior guard Aicha Coulibaly and redshirt senior guard Honesty Scott-Grayson, both of whom are averaging over 10 points per game at 17 and 13.3, respectively. The Tigers have similarly enjoyed a heavy home schedule early in the season as well, with five of their first seven games at Neville Arena.

"Auburn is a great team, very well-coached by Johnnie Harris," Messer added. "We have our work cut out, but the good news is that Auburn is very similar in terms of the defensive intensity that Sam Houston just gave us. So that part is good, but it's on the road at their place, and we just have to go do our thing."