UCF women’s basketball season opens the 2015-16 season on the road today at 3 p.m. against Nebraska-Omaha. Nebraska-Omaha and UCF are both coming off sub-par seasons. UCF finished with a 9-21 record overall and Omaha wrapped its season up 10-18.
Coming off an injury-riddled season, the Knights are looking to have a more productive season with some old and new faces on the team.
“Really excited about this year, disappointing last season. Had a couple early injuries and that took us out of our rhythm a little bit. A lot of young players; were able to sign five freshman, we have three sophomores returning, three juniors, one senior. So really a young class,” UCF head coach Joi Williams said.
The starting backcourt for the Knights is headed by sophomore Aaliyah Gregory and junior Zykira Lewis, who accounted for 48 percent of the offensive production last year.
The Knights will also have former Purdue forward Joslyn Massey back after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules.
Massey made a 2013 NCAA tournament with Purdue and has already begun to add an experienced voice to her new team.
“She’s done a great job, because she’s had college experience. She’s done a fantastic job of helping those young players get acclimated and kind of showing them the ropes,” Williams said.
The Knights will also have young players who are more experienced, like redshirt freshman forward, Nyala Shuler. Shuler was forced to watch most of the season from the bench after a foot injury.
“I got a chance to sit back and watch and learn a lot of things. I worked really hard this offseason, came back a few months early so it allowed a lot of time to study the game and become a better student of the game, “ Shuler said.
With a dynamic backcourt, experienced voices and healthy returning talent, the Knights will look to have a successful season starting next Saturday against Nebraska-Omaha.
Players to watch:
Nebraska-Omaha junior Mikaela Shaw, who received the Marian Ivers Female Athlete of the Year in 2015 after posting 15.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game.
UCF junior Zykira Lewis, who was named 2014-15 American Athletic Conference second teamer after recording 18.9 points per game and draining a UCF-record 86 three pointers last year.
Christopher Davis is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.