Women's Hoops Set to Host Kansas for Senior Knight

by Jenna VanHoose
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ORLANDO - The Knights welcome Kansas to Orlando for the first time in program history on Wednesday, Feb. 28 for Senior Knight. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. inside Addition Financial Arena.

The Rundown

• This contest will mark the second all-time meeting between the teams and first as conference opponents.

• The Jayhawks are first in the Big 12 limiting their turnovers to 13.6 per game while the Knights force 16.15 turnovers per game.

• The Knights hold a 73.9 free throw percentage as Kansas is 70.5 percent from the charity stripe.

• UCF and Kansas each played in the tropics earlier this season, as the Knights played in the Discover Puerto Rico Classic and the Jayhawks competed in the Cayman Islands Classic in George Town, Cayman Islands.

Scouting Kansas

• Kansas heads into the matchup with a 16-11 record and a 9-7 mark in the Big 12.

• The Jayhawks are coming off its second top-10 win of the season as they faced No. 1 Kansas State Sunday to earn a 58-55 win.

• Head coach Brandon Schneider is in his ninth season at Kansas and holds a 123-147 record. Schneider helped lead the Jayhawks to a WNIT Championship in 2023.

• Kansas has four players who average double digits in scoring with S’Mya Nichols leading the pack with 14.6, Taiyanna Jackson tallies 12.5, Holly Kersgieter adds 11.7 while Zakiyah Franklin adds 11.2 points per game. 

• Jackson leads the team in rebounds averaging 9.9 per game, ranked second in the Big 12.

• As a team, the Jayhawks are third in the Big 12 averaging 4.4 blocks per game.

A Win Would…

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

• Improve UCF’s home record to 9-7

• Give UCF its first win over Kansas in conference play

• Be better than a loss

Rising to the Top

• Junior Kaitlin Peterson is having a stellar debut season for the Knights, as she is third in the Big 12 with 20.0 points per game.

• Peterson surpassed 500 points at Oklahoma State (Feb. 21), as she has 521 points this season and ranked 31st 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 16 conference games, Peterson is averaging 20.4 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.

Back in the Big 12

 • Sytia Messer and Mike Carey have spent a significant portion of their coaching career in the Big 12.

 • Coach Messer spent seven years in Waco as an assistant coach at Baylor and Carey is a veteran in the Big 12, where he was head coach at West Virginia for 21 years, spending 10 of those in the Big 12.

 • The Knights are the only coaching staff in the Big 12 to have a previous head coach and assistant coach with Big 12 experience.

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 15 games this season and ranks 12th in the Big 12 with 3.3 assists per game.

• The Black and Gold average 11.30 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 16 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 73.9.

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

• The Knights are averaging 19.15 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 holds the top spot with 16.