The UCF women's basketball team is looking to rebound from the season it had last year. With new faces added to the roster, as well as its leading rebounder and second-leading scorer returning, the Knights have solid potential going into the new season.
UCF looked prepped and ready to begin the 2014-15 campaign as it trumped St. Leo University 81-44 in its only exhibition game on Nov. 7.
The team returns four players who each competed in a team high of 30 games last season, and redshirt senior Brittni Montgomery and sophomore Zykira Lewis are among those.
Lewis finished second on the team in scoring last year, averaging 12.6 points per game, and is looking to take the No. 1 scoring role this year. She dazzled in the exhibition game, putting up 25 points in 23 minutes of play, including going 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.
"That's what Zy [Zykira] does," Montgomery said. "She knows how to get to the basket. She can knock down the outside shot."
Head coach Joi Williams has high hopes for the offense this season. She knows that a couple of young players are aiming for spots in the lineup this year, namely in the home opener against Florida Atlantic University on Friday at 11 a.m. The offense can add depth throughout its second season in the American Athletic Conference.
"We've got some freshmen with some talent that will give us a totally different look than we had last season," Williams said.
The defense is another story. It had a bit of a slow start but racked up 57 rebounds throughout the game.
In the exhibition game, Montgomery, who led the team in rebounding last year, continued her aggressive pattern, picking up a team-high 13 rebounds and going 7 of 8 from the field en route to 16 points. She knows strong defensive efforts help the team offensively.
"Rebounds lead to second-chance points," Montgomery said. "I'm just going to have to continue to be consistent."
Makenzi Reasor, a transfer from Indiana State, finally got some action in her first collegiate game after injuries kept her sidelined her freshman year and NCAA transfer rules kept her out of UCF's lineup last season.
"It was great to get her [Reasor] out here," Williams said. "She'll be another one who is a weapon offensively."
This season, UCF will face some of the tough competition. The game that is circled on the Knights' calendar is a home matchup on Jan. 21, 2015, against the powerhouse UConn Huskies, who have won four out of the last six national championships.
"We've got a challenging schedule," Williams said during the teams' media day earlier this year. "It's great that you get the chance to play the best [team] every single year."