Women's Hoops Heads to ECU

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ORLANDO – The UCF women's basketball team heads to Williams Arena for the second matchup this season against East Carolina. The Knights (11-12, 2-9 AAC) and the Pirates (18-8, 9-4 AAC) game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ at 2 p.m.

• Improve the overall series to 13-15
• Be UCF's third American Athletic Conference win this season
• Improve the Knights to 12-12 on the season
• Give Sytia Messer her 12th win as head coach for the Knights and 66th of her career
• Be better than a loss

Overall: ECU leads 15-12
In Greenville: ECU leads 9-4
In Orlando: UCF leads 8-6
Neutral Site: n/a
Last meeting: L, 68-54 (2/4/23)
Streak: ECU won 1
The Knights fell short despite the Knights recording less turnovers in their last outing against South Florida on Wednesday. The Bulls led the charge from the beginning, Rachel Ranke hit a three-pointer to knot the score, 9-9 but the Bulls never relinquished the lead throughout the game, beating the Knights, 73-44. Kiera Brown had a game-high eight points, tying her season high with all of them in the second half. Brown made all six of her free-throw attempts, while adding five rebounds and two steals. Sierra Godbolt had seven points in the game and tallied two assists and two rebounds.

The Pirates are 18-8 overall with a 9-4 mark in league play heading into the game on Saturday. East Carolina comes into the matchup after a 68-57 triumph at Cincinnati in its most recent outing on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The Pirates are currently on a four-game win streak dating back to Feb. 4 when the Pirates and Knights has their first matchup this season. ECU is ranked 3rd in the NCAA rankings for steals per game averaging 13.2.
Two members of East Carolina's squad average double figures, led by Danae McNeal's 17.3 points per game, making her mark in the AAC ranked No. 2 in scoring. Amiya Joyner averages 10.8 and leads the Pirates in rebounds with 208. McNeal also leads with 79 steals and in field goals made (167).
Saturday marks the 28th overall matchup between the Knights and Pirates. East Carolina leads the all-time series 15-12, with the Pirates holding a 9-4 advantage in Greenville.
UCF ended the eight-game win streak against the Pirates as the Knights were unable to find their groove offensively in the last meeting against East Carolina on Feb. 4, 2023. The Knights dropped a 68-54 decision to East Carolina. Destiny Thomas recorded her 10th double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Laila Jewett added 10 points and shot 3-of-7 from the arc. As a team, UCF recorded an astonishing 44 points off the bench.

The Black and Gold are ranked in the top 50 in four statistical categories including No. 8 in offensive rebounds per game with 16.0, 13th in rebounds per game (42.96) and 44th in field-goal percentage defense (37.0). UCF leads the AAC in rebounds per game. The Knights are ranked 36th in free throw attempts per game with 20.57.

Individually, Destiny Thomas is sixth in the nation for offensive rebounds per game (4.7) and 17th in rebounds per game (10.3). Thomas has recorded 10 double-doubles this season and ranks 36th 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 14.04 free-throws made per game. UCF is third in the conference for free-throw attempts per game with 20.57.

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. In the Knights first conference win on Jan. 15, they limited Wichita State to 56 points, second lowest this season. 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 with 50 points being the lowest this season.

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 75 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 (69). Godbolt, a freshman, is making her mark in the AAC rankings standing at No. 7 in assist/turnover ratio (1.13).

Destiny Thomas has recorded 86 blocks in her career to make it into the UCF top 10 tied at No. 6 in most blocks with No. 1 being Ali Roberts with 219. The senior forward also leaped into the top 10 for most rebounds with 637, lands at No. 9, with the No. 1 spot being held by Tamika Coley (1,211).