ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Coming off a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season, the UCF women's basketball opens the 2009-10 campaign with a difficult test at #24 Middle Tennessee State Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. In the Blue Raiders, the Knights will be facing a fellow NCAA tournament team from 2008-09 and a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Sunday's game, along with the rest of the UCF women's basketball schedule, will feature a live audio internet broadcast on UCFAthletics.com. The audio broadcast, through Stretch Audio Internet, can be heard free of charge at http://ucfathletics.cstv.com/multimedia/ucf-wbb-stretch-sched.html, and will begin at approximately 2:40 p.m. Scott Adams and Andrew Gavin will be on the call.
Head coach Joi Williams' UCF team will be looking to build off the momentum from the end of the 2008-09 season, when the Knights won 15 of their final 21 games, including a run to the Conference USA Tournament title. Williams returns 10 letterwinners from last year's championship team, and the outside expectations of her team have certainly been raised.
INSIDE THE SERIES: UCF and Middle Tennessee State have met only once previously, with the Blue Raiders winning a close game, 71-69, in Orlando on Dec. 22, 2000. Sunday's meting with be the first between the two programs in Murfreesboro.
OPENING DAY: Entering Sunday, UCF is 15-17 all-time in season openers. The Knights will be looking to end a streak of three-straight losses in openers dating back to a 62-54 victory over Florida A&M on Nov. 18, 2005.
IN THE VOLUNTEER STATE: UCF has won four of its last six games in the state of Tennessee. UCF played its last game of the 2008-09 season in Chattanooga, falling to North Carolina 85-80 in the NCAA Tournament.
GROWING OLD: With the start of the 2009-10 season, UCF went from having one of the nation's youngest teams to having a roster filled with eight upperclassmen. The Knights had only three starts last season by upperclassmen, but now have seven juniors and a senior on the roster.
TOUGH SLATE: A year after playing one of the nation's most difficult non-conference schedules, UCF will again be challenged in 2009-10, beginning with a ranked MTSU squad. The Knights' non-conference schedule also includes Notre Dame and Florida State, ranked as high as fourth and 12th respectively in the nation's preseason top-25 polls.
BETTER START: UCF will be looking to get off to a better start than it did in 2008-09. Playing a challenging schedule, the young Knights won just two of their 13 non-conference games a season ago before wining 15 of the last 21. Head coach Joi Williams has made it clear she expects better results in non-conference play this season.
MARQUEE MATCHUP: Sunday's game will feature two of the country's best forwards. MTSU's Alysha Clark returns as the nation's leading returning scorer after averaging 27.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season. UCF will counter with junior Emma Cannon (Rochester, N.Y.), who ranked fifth nationally last season in rebounds per game (11.6) and also averaged 15.5 points per contest. Both players were selected as their respective conferences' preseason players of the year.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: UCF starts its season on the road for the second-straight year, but the Knights will not accumulate near the mileage in 2009-10 as they did last season. UCF played eight of its non-conference games away from home in 2008-09, but will have six of its nine non-conference opponents at the UCF Arena this season.
Season and single-game tickets are currently available with the UCF Ticket Office. Knight fans can purchase season tickets for each of the team's 14 home games for just $39. For more information on purchasing tickets, contact the UCF ticket office at (407) 823-1000.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.