UCF Knights women's basketball
|University||University of Central Florida|
|All-time record||509–554 (.479)|
|Head coach||Katie Abrahamson-Henderson (1st year)|
|Colors||Black and Gold
|NCAA/AIAW Tournament Elite Eight|
|NCAA/AIAW Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|NCAA/AIAW Tournament appearances|
|1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1996, 1999, 2009, 2011|
|Conference tournament champions|
|1982, 1983, 1984, 1996, 1999, 2009, 2011|
|Conference regular season champions|
|1982, 1983, 1984, 1999, 2003, 2005|
The UCF Knights women's basketball team represents The University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida. The Knights compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the American Athletic Conference (The American). They play their home games in the CFE Arena located on the university's main campus, and are currently led by head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.
The Knights have appeared in the NCAA/AIAW Tournament eight times, five as a Division I team and three times as a Division II program. The Knights also appeared in the Elite Eight in 1982, and won the 1980 AIAW Division-II Florida State Championship, before falling in their first game of the national tournament. The Knights have won two of the last four conference tournament titles.
UCF began competing in AIAW in 1977-78 in Division II. In their third season, the Knights went 23–9 and won the AIAW D–II Small College Florida State Championship during the 1979–80 season. Although a member of the Sunshine State Conference, it did not organize women's basketball within the conference until 1981. They moved up to AIAW Division I in 1981–82, the last year of AIAW, and advanced to the Division I Tournament quarterfinals.
They moved to the NCAA in 1982–83, initially in Division II with the rest of the Sunshine State Conference, and were promoted to Division I in 1984–85. In all three years playing for the Sunshine State Conference, the Knights won both the conference regular season and tournament titles all three years. In their first year in NCAA Division I, they had a 20–10 record, but were not given a tournament bid since they were non-conference that first year.
The team would struggle in Division I conference play with the New South Women's Athletic Conference (NSWAC) until 1990. After playing in the American South Conference in 1990–91, which merged into the Sun Belt Conference in 1991, the team landed in the Trans-American Athletic Conference (TAAC) in 1992–93. Ironically, the NSWAC had merged into the TAAC the previous year. In 1995–96, the Knights surprised everybody by winning the TAAC Tournament, and making its first appearance in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, though they were eliminated in the first round.
In 1996–97, UCF hired Lynn Bria as their women's basketball head coach, and the team began to see more success. In 1998–99, UCF finally arrived, winning the TAAC regular season title with a 13–3 record and winning the Conference Tournament, earning its second NCAA Tournament bid. Still, Bria was replaced as head coach by Gail Striegler following its NCAA Tournament ouster.
After two years of struggling, Striegler put together a string of four winning seasons both overall and in what had become the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2001–02. The team won the Atlantic Sun regular season title in 2002–03 and 2004–05, but failed to win the Conference Tournament, and thus never played in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2005–06, the Knights moved to Conference USA, and the women's basketball team struggled mightily, resulting in Striegler being fired and replaced by Joi Williams. The team continued to struggle in 2007–08 with a 10–20 record and a last place showing in the conference. But after a 2–11 start in 2008–09, they surprised C-USA by dominating, tying with four other teams with the second-best in-conference record of 11–5 (falling to the fifth seed due to their out-of-conference woes). In the Conference USA Tournament, they beat Rice (66–64), Houston (79–66) and SMU (62–51) in order to face Southern Miss in the Championship game. After fighting to a 52–52 tie in regulation, UCF dominated the overtime period, 13–2, to win the game, 65–54. It was UCF's first C-USA title, earning its third NCAA Tournament appearance. Ranked No. 14 in the Oklahoma City regional in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, they surprised the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels, ultimately losing 85–80.
After floundering in 2009–10 (10–15, 7–9), the Knights dominated the conference schedule in 2010–11 (22–10, 12–4), finishing 2nd in the regular season and winning their second C-USA title along with their fourth NCAA tournament appearance.
When the basketball program moved into the new New UCF Arena in the fall of 2007, the facility could hold more students than ever before. To go along with its new facility and its new commitment to basketball, a new student section was formed. The "Knightmare" debuted on January 11, 2008 during a men's basketball game. Adorned in their black Knightmare shirts, the students completely filled the bleachered section behind the basket and the overflow section in the upper deck.
One of UCF's most unusual basketball traditions is its free throw chant. Started by students in the 1990s, UCF fans started holding their right arms with clenched fists almost straight up when a UCF player shoots a free throw. When the basketball is made, the fans would stomp their right foot twice, clap their hands twice, make a shooting motion with their right hand while chanting "woosh." In the more recent years, after the appropriately named Stomp Stomp, Clap Clap, Woosh chant, fans will chant U-C-F afterwards, making a U, a C, and an F over their heads. During the 2010-2011 season, a group of students attempted to start a new tradition; if a UCF player makes all of his free throws, the chant is followed by "ballin'." Stomp Stomp, Clap Clap, Woosh, U-C-F is one of the most unusual free throw chants in all of college basketball.
There is also another tradition where if the opponent goes for a shot and gets an "air ball," the chants ring out the entire game for that one player. It's been shown as an effective way to get into the player's mind.
|FTU (Division II Independent) (1977–1978)|
|UCF (Division II Independent) (1978–1981)|
|1979–80||Nancy Sirmons||23–9||AIAW D–II Florida State Champion|
|UCF (D–I Sunshine State Conference) (1981–1982)|
|1981–82||Joe Sanchez||24–15||10–2||1st||AIAW Elite 8|
|UCF (NCAA D–II Sunshine State Conference) (1982–1984)|
|1982–83||Joe Sanchez||25–5||12–0||1st||NCAA D–II First Round|
|1983–84||Joe Sanchez||23–7||11–1||1st||NCAA D–II First Round|
|UCF (NCAA Division I Independent) (1984–1985)|
|UCF (New South Women's Athletic Conference) (1985–1990)|
|UCF (American South Conference) (1990–1991)|
|UCF (Sun Belt Conference) (1991–1992)|
|UCF (Trans-American Athletic Conference/Atlantic Sun Conference) (1992–2005)|
|1995–96||Jerry Richardson||15–14||7–8||6th||NCAA First Round|
|1998–99||Lynn Bria||20–10||13–3||1st||NCAA First Round|
|UCF (Conference USA) (2005–2013)|
|2008–09||Joi Williams||17–17||11–5||5th||NCAA First Round|
|2010–11||Joi Williams||22–11||12–4||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|UCF (American Athletic Conference) (2013–present)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- "CFE Arena". UCF Athletics Association. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- UCF Graphic Standards (PDF). UCF.edu. 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
- McMurphy, Brett. "Old Big East now American Athletic". ESPN. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- "2013-14 UCF Women's Basketball Yearbook". 2013. p. 43.
- "UCF Knights stun Gators in basketball". Florida Today. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
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