The UCF women's basketball team pulled out its most recent win against the University of North Florida on Dec. 2, moving to 4-2 on the season and 4-1 at home. Although its record started stronger last season at 7-1, the team is on pace for a better offense this year.
This season the Knights are averaging 72.3 points per game, compared to 57.3 points they finished with last season.
"If we can continue to score 70-plus points per game, that's great, because not too many teams are doing that now," freshman Aliyah Gregory said.
UCF's offensive production has been propelled by sophomore Zykira Lewis, who was its second-leading scorer from a season ago. She has been lighting up opposing defenses, averaging 22.8 points per game, including a 41-point onslaught against FAU in the season opener. She's played 33.5 minutes per game on her way to becoming the key factor in UCF's offensive improvement.
Head coach Joi Williams is pleased with Lewis' improvement but also credits her teammates for the gains in her performance.
"Everybody knows that Zy [Zykira] can score, but she's got some help," Williams said. "I think our posts have improved [from last season] in terms of finishing."
Freshman Fifi Ndour said that chemistry has also been a driving force toward the improvement.
"We have great chemistry," Ndour said. "[Chemistry is] going to be a really big factor. As long as we can play together we can take down every team."
Lewis knows that establishing chemistry off the court is just as important as establishing it on the court.
"We like to do a lot of things together [as a team]," Lewis said. "It really helps us on the court because you can see we come together when we're down, and we just encourage each other all the time."
The team is packed with young players receiving big minutes. Gregory and fellow freshman Nyala Shuler are in the top five among leading scorers on the team and each average more than 24 minutes per game. Ndour is not far behind, with 19.3 minutes.
Another first-year player, redshirt sophomore Makenzi Reasor, has seen her minutes steadily increase throughout the first six games of the season to an average of 15.2 a night, along with 7.7 points per game. The forward is 18 for 21 (.857) from the free-throw line, proving to be the go-to gal when fouls factor in at the end of the game.
After capping off a four-game home stand and playing their first five of six games at home, the Knights will go on a three-game road trip. UCF will return to the CFE Arena on Dec. 17 to face Akron.