Welcome to the fourth opponent profile for the 2003-2004 season. Each profile will include information about the opponentís campus, its womenís basketball team, and one player or coach on the team. Links to web pages will follow each section. Look for a profile on each opponent 1-2 days before the tip-off.
So hereís the fun fact about the University of Central Florida: itís 13 miles from downtown Orlando, Florida, the Happiest Place On Earth and Home To Americaís Multi-Millionaire Athletes Who Choose Not To Pay State Income Tax. Hereís the eerie fact about the University of Central Florida: itís ten years older than I am. Originally called Florida Technological University, UCF was established in June 1963 by the State Legislature. Ten years later, on February 14, 1973, I was born in Kettering, Ohio, and named Florida Technological University. UCFís name was changed when it was more than fifteen years old, and my name was changed when I was fifteen years old. UCF has more than 41,000 students, Iíve spoken to about 41,000 people in my life. To learn more statistics about UCF (and by eerie coincidence, me), cut and paste the following address into your web browser:
Readers who have QuickTime5 or RealPlayer 8 can take a virtual tour of the UCF campus at the following address:
Thereís quite a bit more information about UCF on its official website, from its Mission to Strategic Planning to information about the Offices of the President and the Provost. But realize that thereís nothing more interesting about UCF than the fact that it and I were apparently meant to live parallel lives. Fortunately, UCF has an operating budget of $669,226,140 for the 2003-2004 school year. Iím merely awaiting the windfall.
The University of Central Floridaís official webpage is at the following address:
The Golden Knights lost 68-47 loss to Manhattan College last Saturday afternoon in their only game of the 2003-2004 season to date. The UCF squad didnít shoot particularly well during the game (35.6% FG, 18.2% 3-Pt., 30% FT) or take care of the basketball (21 turnovers to 13 assists). Perhaps the sloppy start to the season can be attributed to the teamís youth. Of the thirteen players available this season, ten are either freshmen or sophomores. Still, the beginning of the season canít please a squad that was chosen to finish 2nd in the Atlantic Sun conference by both the media and the conference coaches.
UCF roster webpage: http://www.ucfathletics.com/roster.asp?sportid=156
Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Polls: http://www.ucfathletics.com/article.asp?articleid=49960
Do give the Golden Knights credit in their game against Manhattan both on defense, forcing MC in 41.0% shooting from the field, and rebounding. The UCF squad, which started two juniors and three sophomores, out-rebounded MC 43-39, with six players grabbing at least four rebounds. Of the five starters, three are taller than six feet and the squad boasts seven in total.
The UCF squad is apparently a deep one, as eight players earned double-figure minutes in the season opener, and a ninth player played nine minutes. The depth, however, didnít seem to be effective against MC as only two players scored in double figures and the squadís fresh legs got the Golden Knights only 10 free throw attempts.
With only one game under their belt, however, the UCF squad can hardly be analyzed in terms of its play. To be chosen second in preseason polls for any conference shows that people in the know have confidence in a squad and that good things are expected from it.
The official page for the basketball team: http://www.ucfathletics.com/sport_front.asp?sportid=156
Head Coach Gail Striegler was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year for the 2002-2003 season, leading the team to the regular-season title and winning second place in the conference tournament. The Golden Knights have improved every year under Strieglerís leadership, going from 9-20 in 1999-2000 to 10-18, 17-13, and 19-11 in the following three years. Her teams have been highly ranked both in A-Sun Conference and the nation in 3-point shooting during her tenure at the Orlando campus.
Learn more about Coach Striegler at her bio page: http://www.ucfathletics.com/article.asp?articleid=10731
There are a number of reasons Purdue should roll against the Golden Knights. First, the Boilermakers have had three games to be more accustomed to one another on the court, the Golden Knights have had only one. Second, the Boilermakers have played much tougher competition, with two of their opponents being ranked in the nationís top 5 in the 2003-2004 season. The Golden Knights have played, and lost to, Manhattan College by a wide margin. Third, the Boilermakers are a much more experienced team than the Golden Knights, especially at the guard position. Say what you will about interior play, but guards control the college game and Erika Valek causes a lot of damage not only with her playmaking skills, but also is an outstanding shooter with perhaps the sweetest pull-up jumper in Purdueís history. Fourth, Purdue has just as deep a bench as the Golden Knights, so UCF wonít fatigue the Boilers, especially if Sharika, Ashley, Carol, Sabrina, Indi, Katie, and Erin come up as big against the Golden Knights as they did UW-Milwaukee.
The Boilermakers are doing better offensively than the Golden Knights in all shooting categories, despite abysmal FT% for both squads, are distributing and protecting the ball better than the Golden Knights, and are defending opponents better than UCF. The Golden Knights, however, have a rebounding edge and with their tall frontcourt players, could present a challenge to the Boilermakers.
The Golden Knights have the reigning conference coach of the year, the preseason player of the year in junior Takira Allen, and the home court advantage in Saturdayís game against the Boilermakers. None of that will matter, however, as Purdue should roll against UCF in the opening round of the Golden Knights Classic, 88-50.