Women's Hoops Set to Play Tulsa in First Round of AAC Tournament

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ORLANDO – The UCF women's basketball team opens the 2023 American Athletic Conference Championship on Monday, facing Tulsa in the first round at Dickies Arena. The No. 10 seeded Knights (13-14, 4-11 AAC) and the seventh-seeded Golden Hurricane (17-12, 7-9 AAC) game will be broadcast on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.

• Advance the Knights to the quarterfinals of the AAC Tournament
• Improve the Knights to 14-14 on the season
• Give Sytia Messer her 14th win as head coach for the Knights and 68th of her career
• Be better than a loss

Overall: UCF leads 15-9
In Tulsa: Tied 6-6
In Orlando: UCF leads 8-2
Neutral Site: Tied 1-1
Last meeting: L, 70-60 in Tulsa (3/2/23)
Streak: Tulsa won 1
At the AAC Tournament: UCF leads 2-0
This will be the third matchup this season for the Knights and Golden Hurricane. Tulsa currently holds a 2-0 edge over UCF.
In the regular-season finale, the UCF women's basketball team couldn't hold off a late comeback from Tulsa, as the Golden Hurricane rallied for a 70-60 victory Wednesday night inside the Reynolds Center. The Knights won the battle on the boards with a 41-29 margin, including 22 offensive rebounds, but unfortunately that didn't translate to the win. Mya Burns tallied a game- and season-high 21 points for the Knights, including a 3-5 showing from behind the arc. Ranke contributed 15 points, as she drained four three-pointers. Destiny Thomas led all players in the contest with 16 rebounds, headlined by 10 offensive rebounds.
Tulsa's Maya Mayberry and Temira Poindexter each recorded a game-high 20 points. Hadley Periman and Poindexter each tallied three blocks.  
Currently, the Golden Hurricane swirl in at No. 1 in the AAC in three-point attempts per game (29.4) and three-pointers per game (9.9).
This matchup will include two of the top five players in the AAC ranked for blocks with UCF's Destiny Thomas showcasing 42 blocks (ranked No. 3 in AAC) and Tulsa's Temira Poindexter with 43 (ranked No. 2 in AAC).

The Golden Hurricane are 17-12 overall with a 7-9 mark in league play heading into the game on Monday.
Four members of Tulsa's squad average double figures, led by Temira Poindexter's 16.1 points per game, making her mark in the AAC ranked No. 3 in field goal attempts with 418. Delanie Crawford averages 11.3 and leads the Golden Hurricane in assists with 89. Maddie Bittle and Maya Mayberry average 10.8 and 10.9, respectively. Poindexter is also ranked No. 2 in the AAC with 43 blocks and 1.48 blocks per game.

Monday marks the 25th overall matchup between the Knights and Golden Hurricane. UCF leads the all-time series 15-9, with the Knights holding a 2-0 advantage in the AAC Championship Tournament.
The Knights are 10-8 overall in the American Athletic Conference Tournament. In the last six seasons, UCF has earned a first round bye, as the first five teams in the conference receive a bye. The Knights faced Tulsa last year in the quarterfinals and came out with a 69-54 win as UCF outscored Tulsa in each quarter.  The Knights poured in 32 points in the paint and held a 50-20 rebounding edge. UCF scored 30 points off 19 turnovers by the Golden Hurricane.
The Knights led through three quarters of the game on the road, but the Golden Hurricane went on an 18-2 rally to come out with a 70-60 victory in the last meeting on March 1, 2023. Heading into the fourth quarter with a six-point advantage at 43-37, the Knights extended their lead to nine points with 8:06 remaining after a three-pointer from Rachel Ranke. From there, Tulsa went on an 18-2 run, holding the Knights scoreless for a five-minute stretch. UCF cut the deficit to four at 61-57 following a jumper from Ranke, but Tulsa's Maya Mayberry answered on the next possession to push the Golden Hurricane lead back to seven points and they went on to earn a 10-point win.
The Black and Gold are ranked in the top 50 in four statistical categories including No. 9 in offensive rebounds per game with 16.2 and rebounds per game (43.44), 24th in free-throw attempts per game (21.11) and 29th in field-goal percentage defense (36.5). UCF is first in the AAC in rebounds per game and field-goal percentage defense along with second in offensive rebounds per game. The Knights are ranked No. 3 in the AAC in free-throw attempts per game and turnovers forced per game (16.54).

Individually, Destiny Thomas is second in the nation (No. 1 in AAC) for offensive rebounds per game (5.2) and 9th in rebounds per game (11.0). Thomas has recorded 12 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 and 2/25), the Knights are second in the conference with 14.26 free-throws made per game. UCF is third in the conference for free-throw attempts per game with 21.11.

Mya Burns leads the Black and Gold with a .784 free-throw percentage (58-74). Burns 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 and East Carolina's Danae McNeal for the most points by any player in the AAC this season.

The Black and Gold are 10-1 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 win against Temple on Jan. 21, 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 120 total boards. UCF is 10-6 when it outrebounds 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 it recorded 62 rebounds on Jan. 1, 2016, against Cincinnati.

Two Knights rank in the top 15 in the AAC in blocks per game. Destiny Thomas leads with 1.62 blocks per game, landing at the No. 1 spot in the AAC rankings. Mya Burns taps into the AAC rankings at No. 12 with .93 blocks per game.

Destiny Thomas has recorded 94 blocks in her career to make it into the UCF top 10 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 697, landing at No. 7, with the No. 1 spot being held by Tamika Coley (1,211).
Sierra Godbolt leads the Knights in both steals (45) and assists (80). Godbolt, a freshman, is making her mark in the AAC rankings standing at No. 11 in assists per game (2.96).