Women's Basketball Wins Second Straight, 96-73, against Anderson

Six Knights reach double figures, Burns records Knights' first double-double of 2023-24 campaign

by Ryan Ladika

ORLANDO – A week after the UCF women’s basketball team dropped 101 points in its season-opening win, more Knights newcomers introduced themselves to the squad with emphatic displays on both ends of the floor in leading the group to its second win of the young campaign.

Behind double-digit scoring nights from six different players, UCF battled its way through a tight first 30 minutes before utilizing a 31-point fourth-quarter surge to topple the visiting Anderson Trojans, 96-73, at Addition Financial Arena Monday night.

Throughout the Knights’ (2-0) comfortable victory over Bethune-Cookman Nov. 6, it was junior transfer guard Kaitlin Peterson and her career-high 31-point game that helped propel UCF to its 38-point win. Monday night, a late push that began in the waning minutes of the third quarter aided in pushing the Knights past the Trojans (2-1).

With the home squad trailing by three and just over three minutes to play in the third frame, UCF grinded out a rally that began at the free throw line. Looking up at a 58-55 deficit, Peterson, returning graduate student guard Mya Burns and junior forward Taylor Gibson combined for the Knights’ final 10 points of the quarter, six of which came via attempts at the charity stripe, to give UCF a 65-61 lead entering the final frame.

Burns, in addition to her 16 points, also snagged 11 rebounds to notch UCF’s first double-double of the season.

Another one of the Knights’ new faces took command exiting the break, as freshman forward Achol Akot netted eight of UCF’s next 12 points to begin the fourth quarter before Peterson came through with her lone 3-point shot of the evening to put the game out of reach. One week after her breakout performance, Peterson once again represented her team’s leading scorer with a team-best 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting, including 7-of-10 from the free throw line.

Akot, after recording a team-best 14 rebounds in her Knights debut a week ago that also included a single-game conference-high eight offensive rebounds in the season’s first week, came through for her team once again Monday night as well with 14 points and six rebounds in just under 12 minutes of action.

“Achol and the steals, and just her energy is what helped us pull away,” head coach Sytia Messer said of her freshman, who also represented one of four Knights with at least two steals. “Her ability to pass the ball, she’s a great passer too, and she can shoot the mid-range.”

The Knights clinched the contest with six more makes from the line down the stretch, giving the team 24 total conversions on 28 free throw attempts, its highest made free throw total since the 2019-20 Knights went 28-for-35 from the line in their 91-55 win over East Carolina Jan. 5, 2020.

“Six players in double figures, that’s part of the reason we were able to put up 96 points, but we also gave up 73, that wasn’t our goal,” Messer continued. “We have to get better on that part, collectively, but we had different people step up.”

Among said players was graduate student guard Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu, who transferred to UCF from Auburn prior to the 2022-23 slate but suffered a season-ending injury before the campaign’s start and was unable to play.

In aiding the Knights in battling to a slim 40-38 halftime lead, Robinson-Nwagwu paced the squad with nine first-half points on perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 shooting from the line and converting her first 3-point attempt of the game.

“It’s so exciting to see Morgan back,” Messer continued. “We just got her cleared, and to see her come back, I thought she was really solid in the first half. It was really good to see her get some minutes, and we’re excited about her being able to give some relief at the guard position.”

Joining Peterson in double figures on the night were Burns (16), Akot (14), Robinson-Nwagwu (13), Laila Jewett (12) and Gibson (10). The group all contributed in sending the Knights to two straight 90-plus-point games to begin a season for the first time since the 2014-15 slate, when UCF bested Florida Atlantic and Oakland by 94-74 and 98-65 final scores Nov. 14 and 17, respectively.


The Knights face another large non-conference test, as the 3-0 Auburn Tigers make the trip to Orlando next Monday, Nov. 20. Tipoff from Addition Financial Arena is slated for 7 p.m.


Follow UCF women’s basketball on X (@UCF_WBB), Instagram (@UCF.WBB) and Facebook (/UCFWomensBasketball).


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