UNCASVILLE, Conn. (UCFKnights.com) – Making its first appearance in the American Athletic Conference championship game, the UCF women’s basketball team battled in the second half, but came up short against No. 2 UConn, 66-45, on Monday evening in Mohegan Sun Arena.
“I think this game was a really exciting, fun, great situation for us,” UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. “This team – these seniors – have never been in the championship game of (The American). It’s a great accomplishment. We wanted to just come in here and just play UCF basketball.”
The second-seeded Knights (26-6) fell behind to the top-seeded Huskies (31-2) early, trailing 17-9 after the first quarter and 39-15 at halftime.
Undeterred, UCF locked in defensively and began to find its rhythm in the third quarter. The Knights outscored the Huskies 14-9 in the frame, shooting nearly 43 percent while limiting UConn to 26.7 percent from the floor.
The Knights continued to push in the fourth quarter, coming within 17 points on a three-pointer from Fifi Ndour with 3:44 remaining, but were unable to pull any closer down the stretch.
Twelve Knights saw action on Sunday. The bench came up big again, scoring 35 of UCF’s 45 points.
Lawriell Wilson led the Knights with 12 points. Masseny Kaba just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds. Nyala Shuler pulled down eight boards.
Kay Kay Wright became the first Knight to earn a spot on the all-championship team after averaging 15 points per game during the tournament.
The Knights, who have put themselves in a strong position to earn the program’s first at-large bid, will now await to learn their postseason fate. The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship bracket will be revealed at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, March 18, on ESPN.