Women's Hoops Welcomes No. 5 Texas Saturday

by Jenna VanHoose
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ORLANDO - The Knights welcome No. 5 Texas to Orlando for the first time in program history on Saturday, Feb. 24. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. inside Addition Financial Arena.

The Rundown

• This contest will mark the first meeting between the teams and due to Texas moving to the SEC next season this will be the only time they will face each other as conference opponents.

• The Longhorns are third in the NCAA with a 24.8 scoring margin over their opponents.

• The Knights hold a 74.7 free throw percentage as Texas averages 22.07 free throw attempts per game but is 70.4 percent from the charity stripe.

• UCF and Texas each played in the tropics earlier this season, as the Knights played in the Discover Puerto Rico Classic and the Longhorns competed in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Scouting Texas

• Texas heads into the matchup with a 25-3 record and a 12-3 mark in the Big 12.

• The Longhorns are on a seven-game win streak with back-to-back win against then No. 13 Baylor (Feb 1) and No. 2 Kansas State (Feb. 4).

• Head coach Vic Schaefer is in his fourth season at Texas and holds a 101-30 record at Texas along with back-to-back Elite Eight appearances (2021 and 2022).

• Texas has four players who average double digits in scoring with Madison Booker leading the pack with 15.8, Rori Harmon tallies 14.1, Taylor Jones adds 12.8 while Aaliyah Moore adds 10.3 points per game. 

• Jones leads the team in rebounds averaging 7.2 per game, ranked eighth in the Big 12.

• As a team, the Longhorns are first in the Big 12 and 5th in the NCAA for field goal percentage (49.9).

A Win Would…

• Give the Knights their fourth win in Big 12 conference play

• Improve UCF’s home record to 9-6

• Give UCF its first win over Texas in program history

• Be better than a loss

Familiar Faces

• UCF head coach Sytia Messer and Texas director of operations Christy Smith were teammates at Arkansas.

• During that time, Texas head coach Vic Schaefer was an associate head coach for Arkansas from 1997-03.

• In 1998 they helped lead Arkansas women’s basketball to the Final Four.

• Arkansas made NCAA Tournament history as the lowest seed — #9 in the West — to advance to the Final Four. They were the first unranked team in women’s basketball history during the modern era to reach the Final Four. And, they were the lowest finishing team in conference play — tied for sixth in the SEC — to reach the Final Four. Arkansas did it all on the west coast, spending two whole weeks in the Bay Area. Along the way, the Razorbacks beat four conference champions — WAC, Pacific, Ivy and ACC — and three ranked teams — Hawai’i, Kansas and Duke — to face conference rival Tennessee at Kansas City.

• Messer was tabbed NCAA West Regional MVP during the 1998 NCAA Championship.

Rising to the Top

• Junior Kaitlin Peterson is having a stellar debut season for the Knights, as she is second in the Big 12 with 20.3 points per game.

• Peterson surpassed 500 points at Oklahoma State (Feb. 21), as she has 507 points this season and ranked 27th in the NCAA for total points.

• The Eufaula, Alabama, native tallied 32 points against Baylor on Jan. 20 to mark her fourth game this season with 30 or more points, which leads the Big 12.

• In UCF’s 15 conference games, Peterson is averaging 20.8 points per game to lead the league. She set a career high with 35 points at Cincinnati on Jan. 10.

• Peterson started her UCF career with 31 points in the Knights’ 101-63 victory against Bethune-Cookman, which was a career high at the time. She was 6-10 from beyond the arc and 12-19 from the field, adding in one free throw.

• She’s scored double digits in 24 of UCF’s 25 games this season and has reached 20 points on 13 occasions.

Double-Double Duo

• A pair of double-doubles from Khyala Ngodu and Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu lifted the Knights to a 92-87 win over Houston on Jan. 27.

• The frontcourt duo combined for 20 of UCF’s 44 first-half points.

• Ngodu recorded a career-high 25 points, grabbing 12 rebounds for her first double-double of the season and the first of her career. She also had three blocks and tallied one steal.

• Robinson-Nwagwu added 12 points, pulling down 10 rebounds for the first double-double of her career. She also had a game-high five assists for the Knights.

• The pair became the first UCF duo since Taylor Gibson and Destiny Thomas to record two double-doubles in one game. Gibson and Thomas achieved the accomplishment on Nov. 27, 2022, against SEMO.

50 = Magic Number

• The Black and Gold are 4-0 when limiting their opponent to 50 points or less.

• From Nov. 24 through Dec. 19, the Knights held five of their seven opponents to less than 50 points.

• UCF held Campbell (Dec. 3) and Morgan State (Dec. 19) to just 41 points marking the fewest points against an opponent this season.

Déjà Vu

• Kaitlin Peterson recorded back-to-back 20-plus point games on Jan. 3 and 6, tallying 22 points in both games against Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

• Peterson’s achievement marked the first time a UCF player has recorded consecutive 20-point games since the 2021-22 season when Diamond Battles scored 21 points in back-to-back games on Jan. 22 and 26.

Spreading the Wealth

• UCF is 10-3 when it records more assists than its opponent.

• Nine Knights have led UCF in assists in at least one game this season.

• Laila Jewett has led the team in assists throughout 14 games this season and ranks 14th in the Big 12 with 3.4 assists per game.

• The Black and Gold average 11.48 assists per game.

Crashing the Boards

• Freshman Khyala Ngodu leads the team in conference play with 6.9 rebounds per game, which ranks 10th in the conference.

• Ngodu has tallied 15 games with five-plus rebounds.

• The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native earned her first start with the Knights on Jan. 13 against West Virginia.

• She earned her first double-double with a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds in the Black and Gold’s first Big 12 win against Houston (Jan. 27).

Taking Advantage of The Freebies

 • As a team, the Black and Gold are ranked second in the Big 12 with a free-throw percentage of 74.7.

 • In the matchup against Houston on Jan. 27, UCF recorded a season-high 33 free throws made.

• The Knights are averaging 19.00 free throw attempts per game.

• Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu went 14-15 from the free throw line against West Virginia (1/13) to mark a career-high in free throws made and attempted. 

• Robinson-Nwagwu’s 14 free throws made ranks her for second in the program’s single game records as Kay Kay Wright hold the top spot with 16.