UCF Set to Host Second Matchup of War on I-4 on Wednesday

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ORLANDO – The UCF women's basketball team returns to Addition Financial Arena on Wednesday evening for the space game and second matchup this season against South Florida. The Knights (11-11, 2-8 AAC) and the Bulls (22-5, 11-1 AAC) game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ at 7 p.m.

• Improve the War on I-4 score to 27-12
• Be UCF's third American Athletic Conference win this season
• Improve the Knights to 12-11 on the season
• Give Sytia Messer her 12th win as head coach for the Knights and 66th of her career
• First win against a ranked opponent this season
• Be better than a loss

Overall: USF leads 12-8
In Tampa: USF leads 6-4
In Orlando: Tied 4-4
Neutral Site: 0-2
Last meeting: L, 83-51 (1/22/23)
Streak: USF won 1
The Knights came up short in overtime despite the Knights leading late in the fourth quarter in their last outing against Memphis on Saturday. The Knights and Tigers battled back and forth for most of the game with 12 lead changes and eight ties in the 50-48 loss. Mya Burns led the Knights with 12 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and five blocks. Burns marked her first double-double of the season. Destiny Thomas pulled down 11 rebounds to mark her 13th game of the season with double-digit rebounds.

The Bulls are 22-5 overall with a 11-1 mark in league play heading into the game on Wednesday. South Florida comes into the matchup after a 71-69 loss versus Houston in its most recent outing on Sunday, Feb. 12.  USF is currently in first place in the American Athletic Conference standings and ranked 21 in both the USA Today and WBCA top 25.
Three members of South Florida's squad average double figures, led by Elena Tsineke's 17.3 points per game. Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu averages 16.8, while Sammie Puisis adds 15.8 points per game. Puisis leads the Bulls with 88 three-pointers with a .391 percentage. Fankam Mendjiadeu averages a double-double with 12.7 rebounds per game.
Wednesday marks the 21st overall matchup between the Knights and Bulls. South Florida leads the all-time series 12-8, with the series tied 4-4 in Orlando.
UCF was unable to overcome a slow start as the Bulls went up 15-2 with less than four minutes left in the first quarter in the last meeting against South Florida on Jan. 22, 2023. The Knights dropped an 83-51 decision to South Florida.
Anzhané Hutton led UCF with 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Rachel Ranke added 12 points and Bryana Hardy finished with seven points.

The Black and Gold are ranked in the top 50 in four statistical categories including No. 6 in offensive rebounds per game with 16.2, 12th in rebounds per game (43.41) and 34th in field-goal percentage defense (36.5). UCF leads the AAC in all three categories. The Knights are ranked 35th in free throw attempts per game with 20.64.

Individually, Destiny Thomas is fourth in the nation for offensive rebounds per game (4.9) and 15th in rebounds per game (10.5). Thomas has recorded 10 double-doubles this season and ranks 35th in the country in that category. Her program-record tying 24 rebounds against Seton Hall are the third most by an NCAA DI player this season behind Angel Reese from LSU (28) and Ajulu Thatha from SIUE (25). 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 Cincinnati (2/8) along with 33 attempts against Cincinnati (2/8), the Knights are third in the conference with 14.00 free-throws made per game. UCF is third in the conference for free-throw attempts per game with 20.64.

Laila Jewett leads the Black and Gold with a .783 free-throw percentage (36-46). Jewett has been perfect from the free-throw line in four games this season.  

Jewett recorded a career-high 34 points in UCF's 79-74 double overtime victory against Samford on Nov. 26. Jewett's 34 points came via 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.

The Black and Gold are 8-1 when limiting their opponent to 60 points or less. UCF led the season off by limiting its first three opponents to 60 points or less. In the most recent win against Cincinnati, UCF kept them to 57 points. The 57 points against Cincinnati is third for lowest points against a conference opponent, as the Knights held Memphis to 50 on Feb. 11 in the 50-48 overtime loss.

Showcased by a season-high 50 rebounds against SEMO (11/27), Elon (12/21) and Texas Southern (12/29), the Knights have outrebounded their opponent by more than 90 total boards. UCF is 9-5 when they outrebound its opponent. Prior to starting AAC play, the Knights were 9-0 this season when they outrebounded their opponent.
Sierra Godbolt leads the Knights in both steals (41) and assists (67). Godbolt, a freshman, is making her mark in the AAC rankings standing at No. 7 in assist/turnover ratio (1.14).

Destiny Thomas has recorded 85 blocks in her career to make it into the UCF top 10 tied at No. 7 in most blocks with No. 1 being Ali Roberts with 219. The senior forward also leaped into the top 10 for most rebounds with 631, landing right at No. 10, with the No. 1 spot being held by Tamika Coley (1,211).