Arizona State vs UCF : Database and infographics of Arizona State Sun Devils vs. UCF Knights football series history and all-time records, national championships, 22 ASU women’s basketball and Central Florida are different in defensive style but similar in results going into NCAA Tournament. ASU women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne and her players actually were happy to learn early who they are playing in the NCAA
South Dakota vs Clemson Live Stream : How To Watch 2019 Women’s Basketball Online Free on HD TV Coverage
The UCF women’s basketball team has capped most of its program-best 26 wins this season with a postgame dance in the locker room. Now, the Knights are headed to the Big Dance.
UCF earned its first at-large bid as the NCAA Tournament bracket was unveiled Monday. The Knights, making their fifth tournament appearance overall, are the No. 12 seed in the Portland Region. They will face the fifth-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday at 7 p.m. in Coral Gables.
“I’m so elated that [our players], especially our seniors, get to continue to play and get that opportunity to be in the NCAA Tournament,” coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said.
One of those seniors is Orlando native Nyala Shuler, a guard who is looking forward to the Knights having a bit of a home-court advantage despite being the lower seed in Friday’s matchup.
“My family is already calling me, telling me how they’re booking their hotel rooms,” Shuler said. “We’re going to be playing on the big stage and we’re going to have a nice fan base. That’s going to be really helpful for us.”
The team held a selection show watch party Monday night to see where they would be slotted in the tournament, and when they saw their name pop up on the ESPN broadcast, the reaction inside Mellow Mushroom was rather subdued. There was no explosion of joy. Even though the Knights had gained entry into their first NCAA Tournament since 2011, their reaction was one of a team that already knew it would be included.
That’s because they did already know, hours before the selection show was supposed to air at 7 p.m. Every team knew. What the Knights were watching was a rerun.
That wasn’t the plan, of course.
The official bracket was inadvertently leaked on ESPNU a few hours before the official reveal. Screenshots of the error quickly spread across social media and from Knight to Knight.
Shuler was getting ready to take a nap when she got a call from the team’s associate director of communications telling her what had happened and that she needed to hurry back to the team facility as the bracket unveiling had been moved up to 5 p.m.
“Oh, gosh, this is really happening,” Shuler thought to herself.
Junior guard Kay Kay Wright, who also calls Orlando home, said she was shocked and a little upset when she heard of the major mistake. But as the Knights gathered to see their name appear on ESPN for the first time, none of that mattered. Their No. 12 line came up, and there was that explosion of joy that is so prevalent at this time of year in college basketball.
“I think this tournament is a stage that UCF can compete on,” Wright said. “We’re just showing and proving here in the year that this is the stage we belong on. We’re going to compete.”
Although the Knights have geographic proximity on their side, they know they will be viewed as the underdog on Friday. The No. 22 Sun Devils (20-10) have advanced past the first round in 13 of their 16 previous tourney trips and are making their sixth consecutive appearance.
Conversely, UCF is 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament. But Abrahamson-Henderson has no problem with her team possibly being underestimated.
“I think we play great when we’re the underdog,” she said.
Her players are ready to play once again with that mindset and dance some more before all is said and done.
“This is something we’ve been working so hard for, we’ve been motivated just to get to this point,” Shuler said. “Now that we’re here, we’re going to have even more motivation to keep proving people wrong and going far in the tournament.”
If UCF advances , the Knights will face the winner of the matchup between No. 4 seed Miami (24-8) and No. 13 seed Florida Gulf Coast (28-4).
The Hurricanes and Eagles will face off at 9 p.m. Thursday and the game will air on ESPN2.
Elsewhere, Florida State was a No. 5 seed in the Greensboro Region and will face No. 12 seed Bucknell Friday in Charlotte, N.C. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN2. If the Seminoles advance, they will face the winner of No. 4 South Carolina vs. No. 13 Belmont.
It’s true to a degree that this postseason for No. 22 Arizona State women’s basketball is all about making the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in four years.
The danger in that is in jumping ahead to No. 19 Miami in the second round and not fully engaging in a tricky first-round game Friday against unranked Central Florida.
But ASU’s coaches are too savvy to fall into that trap and likely the same is true of a veteran team that’s already played a schedule ranked as the 11th most difficult in the nation.
Plus, studying UCF (26-6) only brings ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne to the conclusion that this could be the toughest first-round game for the Sun Devils since 2014.
“We can’t let their pressure and their defense bother us,” ASU junior guard Robbi Ryan said. “We played both (zone and man) all year so we’re ready.”
The Sun Devils are No. 14 nationally in turnovers per game and point guard Reili Richardson is No. 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio. ASU starts three seniors and two juniors, all with ample postseason experience including wing Courtney Ekmark, who played on two NCAA championship teams at UConn before transferring.