UCF looks to continue hot start vs. UAB and SMU
Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 16:01
The women's basketball team looks to continue their hot start this week when they host UAB Thursday and visit SMU Sunday.
The Knights (9-6, 2-0) have beaten their first two opponents to begin Conference USA play and are among three others teams with unblemished conference records.
UCF will welcome the UAB Blazers (8-7, 0-2) on Thursday to the UCF Arena at 7 p.m.
UAB's 0-2 conference record is due to a rough early test. One of their two losses came against conference-leading Tulane (13-2, 2-0).
The Blazers will be without their best player, Jala Harris. Harris, a preseason All-Conference selection and former C-USA Freshman of the Year was averaging 15.5 points per game before leaving the team for personal reasons earlier this month.
Now UAB is looking for a new leading scorer. Sophomore guard Amber Jones, who averages nearly 11 points per game, and senior Amanda Peterson, averaging 8.1 points per game, are likely to see more scoring opportunities.
The Knights will face SMU on Sunday at 2 p.m. on the road in a nationally televised matchup on ESPN2. Like UAB, the Mustangs (7-8, 0-2) have also lost their first two conference games, though those two losses came against Tulane and Houston (11-4, 2-0).
The Mustangs have four players averaging double-digit points per game — Delisha Wills, 11.0 points per game; Christine Elliot, 10.7; Raquel Christian, 10.5 and Sama Mahnesmith, 10.0.
The Knights also have four players averaging over ten points per game, led by seniors Chelsie Wiley and D'Nay Daniels, each averaging more than 14 points. Junior Aisha Patrick is averaging 10.9 points and eight rebounds. Senior Jelisa Caldwell averages 10.7 points .
The Knights defense, however, is the main reason for the successful start. UCF gives up an average of 63.9 points per game and creates 18 turnovers per game.
UCF will have an opportunity to build on its momentum in both games, which are televised. The game against UAB is televised on Bright House Sports Network Thursday at 7 p.m.