Game Recap

Full-court pressure and bully ball inside the paint helped the University of Central Florida to a dominating win over Gardner-Webb University. On Saturday, the Knights (8-2) downed the Runnin’ Bulldogs (3-5) 66-52 at CFE Arena as UCF scored 36 points in the paint and forced 26 turnovers.

“I’d rather get to the paint and get an and-1. It’s a three-point play anyway—well, if we make our free throws. And it really puts the other team on their heels,” UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said after the game. “I’m kinda old-school like that. I want to go in-out.”

It was an even affair until about the midway point in the first quarter. The Runnin’ Bulldogs had taken an early three-point lead courtesy of consecutive three-pointers by Tierra Huntsman. After Huntsman’s second three, she turned and shrugged as she ran back on defense. During the ensuing timeout, senior guard Zykira Lewis said Abrarhamson-Henderson talked about locking down Huntsman.

“We knew we couldn’t let her get anymore threes,” Lewis said after the game. “That was just the big thing Coach wanted us to do.”

When it comes to Huntsman’s shrug, Abrahamson-Henderson said she wants her players to have more of that kind of an attitude.

“That’s how I want our team to be. You know, have a little bit of swag to them,” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “But they don’t really see that stuff that much. Obviously, I did, and I called a timeout and got them refocused and re-fired up.”

UCF’s lead-capturing run was also spearheaded by Gardner-Webb’s nine first-quarter turnovers, including four from Huntsman.

Lewis, Aliyah Gregory and Tolulope Omokore each played significant first-half minutes, with Lewis playing the entire first half and finishing with 36 minutes total.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs began their comeback effort late in the fourth quarter when they went on a 6-1 run to cut the deficit t0 13. Though, efforts by the Knights’ star guards closed out any hope of a comeback.

First, Lewis drained a last-second three-pointer to give the Knights a 63-47 lead. That was followed by a Korneila Wright steal and assist to Gregory on the fast-break layup.

“That just really gave us confidence,” Wright said after the game. “Getting steals and going on runs, that’s what we do. So, any time we get a steal, we look to capitalize off of it.”

Player of the Game: Zykira Lewis

Lewis played all of the first half and then some. She finished the game with game-highs in points (20), steals (six) and tied for most assists (five) with Wright. She helped seal the game off with near buzzer-beating three that enabled the Knights to go up by 16. Lewis finished the game 7-for-18 from the field and 3-for-8 from three-point range.

What’s next?

The Knights travel to face the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday at 2 p.m

Zykira Lewis Nears Career Record in 3s

With her three three-pointers Saturday, Lewis pulled within four deep-range shots of holding the career record for threes. At the beginning of the season, Abrahamson-Henderson said she didn’t want to shoot more than about 10 three-pointers. In Saturday’s game, Lewis shot eight.

For the first-year UCF head coach, though, that was okay.

“She’s kind of a rhythm shooter,” she said. “And she’s like, ‘Should I shoot that one?’ and I don’t want her to be like that. I want her to shoot out of the sets we run them for because then she knows she’s supposed to shoot them, and she wants to shoot them.”

8th Win

With the Knights’ victory on Saturday, they have now surpassed their win total from last season with eight wins.

“I talked today about—’Today you could do something that you didn’t do last year,'” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “But in order to win eight games and do something different that you hadn’t done before, you’re going to have to do something better today.”

Abrahamson-Henderson said the emotion of the players is epitomized in Lewis.

“I think you can see it in Zy’s face,” she said. “She’s smiling, she’s happy, she’s giddy, and she loves the fact that the team is winning. I think she’s more excited about the team winning than her accolades.”

Scoring

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
University of Central Florida 24 20 12 10
Gardner-Webb University 13 9 10 20

Statistics

Team Leaders

  University of Central Florida Gardner-Webb University
Points Zykira Lewis (20) Tierra Huntsman (14)
Rebounds Tolulope Omokore, Nyala Shuler (9) Evelyn Adebayo (5)
Assists Zykira Lewis, Korneila Wright (5) Lovely Locklear (4)
Blocks n/a Celia Tibbs, Charlisa Jenkins (1)
Steals Zykira Lewis (6) Lovely Locklear (2)
Turnovers Korneila Wright, Fifi Ndour (3) Tierra Huntsman, Alexus Hill (5)
Minutes Zykira Lewis, Nyala Shuler (36) Alexus Hill (39)

Team Statistics

Points Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Turnovers
University of Central Florida 66 40 14 0 17 15
Gardner-Webb University 52 27 10 4 4 26

Shooting Percentages

University of Central Florida Gardner-Webb University
FG% 44.3% 39.1%
3FG% 25.0% 41.2%
FT% 42.9% 81.8%

UCF starting lineup: Korneila Wright (G), Aliyah Gregory (G), Zykira Lewis (G), Nyala Shuler (F), Tolilope Omokore (F)

Gardner-Webb starting lineup: Tierra Huntsman (G), Ky’Asia Stanford (G), Alexus Hill (G), Kiera Currie (F), Celia Tibbs (F)

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