Women's Hoops Heads to South Florida

Watch on ESPNU Game Notes

ORLANDO - The UCF women's basketball team heads to South Florida on Sunday for the first meeting of the War on I-4 this season in the Yuengling Center.

The Knights (10-7, 1-4 AAC) and the Bulls (17-4, 6-0 AAC) will tip off at 2 p.m. on ESPNU.


• Be UCF's third consecutive win over USF
• Improve the Knights to 27-6 in the War on I-4
• Be UCF's second American Athletic Conference win this season
• Improve the Knights to 11-7 on the season
• Give Sytia Messer her 11th win as head coach for the Knights and 65th of her career
• Be better than a loss
Overall: USF leads 11-8
In Tampa: USF leads 5-4
In Orlando: Tied 4-4
Neutral Site: USF leads 2-0
Last meeting: W, 54-33 (2/13/22) in Tampa
Streak: UCF won 2
UCF came out with a hot in the first half against Tulane on Tuesday, but a slow start in the second proved to be too much for the Knights to overcome, as they fell 64-50. Mya Burns and Laila Jewett led the Knights in scoring with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Burns marked her third double-digit performance in the last four games. Four Knights led the way with seven rebounds apiece, including Rachel Ranke, Anzhané Hutton, Destiny Thomas and Burns.    

The Black and Gold are ranked in the top 50 in three statistical categories including No. 7 in offensive rebounds per game with 16.9 and 12th in rebounds per game (44.29). UCF leads the AAC in both categories. The Knights are ranked 46th in free throw attempts per game with 20.53.

Individually, Thomas is third in the nation for offensive rebounds per game (5.1) and 13th in rebounds per game (10.6). Thomas has recorded eight double-doubles this season and ranks 25th in the country. Her program-record tying 24 rebounds against Seton Hall are the second most by an NCAA DI player this season behind Angel Reese from LSU (28). In the AAC, she is one of two players averaging a double-double along with South Florida's Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu. Thomas recorded a career-high 24 points on Jan. 15 against Wichita State.

Headlined by a season-high 23 free throws made against Idaho State (12/20) and 28 attempts against Tulsa (1/7) and Auburn (12/3), the Knights are second in the conference with 14.06 free throws made per game. UCF is third in the conference for free throw attempts per game with 20.53.

Jewett leads the Black and Gold with an .810 free throw percentage (34-42). Jewett has been perfect from the free throw line in four games this season.  

Jewett recorded a career-high 34 points against Samford on Nov. 26. Jewett's 34 points came via an impressive 56 percent shooting from the field (9-16), including five made triples on nine tries from beyond the arc. That total is tied with South Florida's Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu for the most points by any player in the AAC this season.

Senior Mya Burns has recorded three double-digit scoring performances in the past four games. Burns led the Knights against Tulane with a game-high 15 points. She recorded a season high of 17 points against Sam Houston on Dec. 1. She has eight double-figure performances this season.

The Bulls are 17-4 overall with a 6-0 mark in league play heading into the matchup on Sunday. South Florida comes into the matchup with a seven-game win streak. The Bulls earned a 58-56 win at Houston in their most recent outing on Jan. 18.

Three members of South Florida's squad average double figures, led by Elena Tsineke's 17.0 points per game. Sammie Puisis averages 16.3, while Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu adds 16.2. Fankam Mendjiadeu also leads the team in rebounds (12.4) and Puisis leads in triples (66).

Sunday marks the 20th meeting between the Knights and Bulls. South Florida holds an 11-8 edge, with the last meeting on Feb. 13, 2022.      
UCF put together a stellar defensive effort in the last meeting against South Florida, as the Knights held the Bulls to seven points in the third quarter and just five points in the fourth quarter en route to a 54-33 victory.

The 33 points allowed were the fewest for the program since March 7, 2020 when UCF defeated Wichita State, 65-32. The Knights held South Florida to its lowest output in the all-time series, and the 33 points were the fewest for the Bulls since 1996. The Black and Gold limited South Florida to a 27.7 field goal percentage for the game.