Knights Set to Host Cincinnati for Senior Knight

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ORLANDO – The UCF women's basketball team host Cincinnati for the last home game of the 2022-23 season on Saturday, Feb. 25 for the second matchup this season. The Knights (12-13, 3-10 AAC) and the Bearcats (9-18, 2-12 AAC) game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ at 2 p.m.

• Finish the Knights' '22-23 home record to 11-5
• Improve the series record against Cincinnati to 13-10 and give UCF a three-game win streak
• Be UCF's fourth American Athletic Conference win this season
• Improve the Knights to 13-13 on the season
• Give Sytia Messer her 13th win as head coach for the Knights and 67th of her career
• Be better than a loss

Overall: UCF leads 12-10
In Cincinnati: Cincinnati leads 5-4
In Orlando: UCF leads 6-2
Neutral Site: Cincinnati leads 3-2
Last meeting: W, 60-57 in Cincinnati (2/8/23)
Streak: UCF won 2
Prior to the start of the game, UCF will honor its seniors for all their accomplishments through the years. Seven seniors will walk across the court to accept their framed jersey which include Kiera Brown, Mya Burns, Ashley Foster, Rachel Ranke, Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu, Destiny Thomas and Asia Todd. Following the conclusion of the game, the seniors will take their final lap around the gym to commemorate the hard work and success that they have put in.

 In a back-and-forth thrilling victory, UCF held on to beat Temple and earn its third conference win of the season Tuesday night at Addition Financial Arena. The Knights set a season-high in rebounds with 56. UCF started off the game with a dominant defensive performance, holding Temple to only five first-quarter points in the 57-53 victory. Anzhané Hutton had a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds including a late-game layup that knotted the game up with 4:27 remaining. Mya Burns followed up with a three-pointer to give the Knights the lead throughout the remainder of the game.

The Bearcats are 9-18 overall with a 2-12 mark in league play heading into the game on Saturday. Cincinnati comes into the matchup following a 64-53 loss at Memphis in its most recent outing on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The Bearcats are currently on a three-game losing streak dating back to Feb. 15 against East Carolina. As a team, the Bearcats are ranked No. 1 in the AAC for blocks per game with 4.5.
Two members of Cincinnati's squad average double figures, led by Jillian Hayes' 12.7 points per game, making her mark in the AAC ranked No. 4 in free-throw attempts with 124. Mya Jackson averages 11.8 and leads the Bearcats in assists with 70. Hayes also leads with 42 steals and rebounds (240). Malea Williams and Hayes are both ranked No. 3 in the AAC with 36 blocks.
Saturday marks the 23rd overall matchup between the Knights and Bearcats. UCF leads the all-time series 12-10, with the Knights holding a 6-2 advantage in Orlando.
UCF overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter, grabbing the lead for good in the final four minutes and holding on for a 60-57 victory at Cincinnati in the last meeting on Feb. 8, 2023. Rachel Ranke, who led the Knights with 16 points, scored eight consecutive points for UCF with the game on the line. She knocked down a three-pointer to tie it at 51 at the 4:12 mark, two free throws 38 seconds later that gave the visitors the lead and then another three-pointer at 2:23 for a five-point advantage. Ranke's 16 points included four of six from beyond the arc and four of four from the charity stripe, while Destiny Thomas added 11 points. Sierra Godbolt (six assists) and Laila Jewett each recorded 10 points and two rebounds. The UCF bench accounted for 33 points.
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, 11th in rebounds per game (43.28), 28th in field-goal percentage defense (36.4) and 30th in free-throw attempts per game (20.96). UCF is first in the AAC in rebounds per game and second in offensive rebounds per game. The Knights are ranked No. 3 in the AAC in free-throw attempts per game (20.96), free-throw made per game (14.20) and turnovers forced per game (16.56).

Individually, Destiny Thomas is fourth in the nation (No. 1 in AAC) for offensive rebounds per game (4.8) and 17th in rebounds per game (10.4). Thomas has recorded 11 double-doubles this season and ranks 34th 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 14.20 free-throws made per game. UCF is third in the conference for free-throw attempts per game with 20.96.

Rachel Ranke leads the Black and Gold with a .783 free-throw percentage (18-23). Ranke has been perfect from the free-throw line in six 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 9-1 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 Temple, UCF kept the Owls to 53 points. The 53 points against Temple is second 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 56 rebounds against Temple (2/21), 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. The 56 rebounds are the most rebounds in a game for UCF since the 2015-16 season when they recorded 62 rebounds on Jan. 1, 2016, against Cincinnati.

Sierra Godbolt leads the Knights in both steals (43) and assists (73). Godbolt, a freshman, is making her mark in the AAC rankings standing at No. 11 in steals per game (1.72).

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 653, landing at No. 8, with the No. 1 spot being held by Tamika Coley (1,211). Rachel Ranke has made her way into the top 10 for most points with 1,249, arriving at No. 9, with the No. 1 spot being held by Tamika Coley (2,006).