UCF works for final C-USA championship
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:10
In recent years, the UCF women’s basketball team established itself as an elite program in Conference USA.
It went on to win the conference in 2009 and 2011 as the expectation for greatness continued to increase with each appearance.
Last season, the Knights consistently blew big leads to lesser opposition and had serious second-half offensive lapses. They did not win their conference despite senior Aisha Patrick’s stellar season and recognize that this year they must come back hungry for a conference championship and a third NCAA Tournament berth in four years.
With three new assistant coaches and two new eligible junior college transfers, head coach Joi Williams will start this year off with an almost completely new set of options.
Although the focus is on the present challenges at hand, Williams looks forward to saying goodbye to C-USA with what she hopes will be the team’s most successful season yet.
“We’re excited about the future, but right now, but in the present we are talking about Conference USA in our last season, hopefully our most successful season, in the conference,” Williams said.
UCF’s move to the Big East seems to be reiterated on a daily basis. It is an exciting move for recruiting and competition purposes, and perhaps there is no bigger impact on those two things in any sport at UCF than on women’s basketball.
With the likes of Notre Dame, Connecticut, St. John’s and Georgetown becoming frequent competition, women’s basketball has a lot of preparation coming its way.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We kind of had some rebuilding to do last year, but I feel really good about this year’s team. We want to finish this last year [in C-USA] really strong and it starts with practice,” Williams said.
For both UCF basketball teams, there is a lack of collegiate experience, but certainly no lack of leadership. Senior guard Gevenia Carter is one of just two seniors on the team and will look to be the Knights’ best scoring option of the starting five. Junior center Erika Jones has been named to the College Sports Madness Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Second Team. She led the team in rebounding last season and is a powerful presence in the paint. She will look to improve her game even more with another season under her belt.
Williams knows she will need her seniors to step up.
“As seniors, Carter and Kayli Keough, we’re going to lean on them both for leadership. We’ve got some very talented young guards in Andrea Hines, who was a true senior last year,” Williams said.
“Certainly, ‘Ne’ [Carter], we’re going to go as she goes.”