BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB women's basketball team begins its 18th season of Conference USA action on Thursday when the Blazers travel to Orlando, Fla., to face UCF. Opening tip is slated for 7 p.m. ET.
At 9-4 overall, UAB looks for its sixth win in nine C-USA openers under head coach Audra Smith, while UCF is searching for its fourth-straight victory on the year after starting the season 3-8.
The Blazers were picked to finish third in the conference by league coaches in the annual preseason poll, while the Knights were tabbed to finish ninth. Meanwhile, the Knights have won six games by an average of 8.7 points per contest with wins against Mississippi State and South Alabama.
Following Thursday's meeting, UAB returns home to face Houston on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT.
Game Information UAB (9-4, 0-0 C-USA) at UCF (6-8, 0-0 C-USA) Jan. 10, 2013 - 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT UCF Arena - Orlando, Fla.
Follow the Blazers Fans can follow along on live stats by visiting www.ucfathletics.com or follow the UAB women's basketball team on Twitter (@UAB_WBB) to receive live updates.
Series Information UAB leads 12-8 >> UAB owns a slight advantage in the series that dates back to 1984. The Blazers won eight-straight over the Knights from 1991-2008, but have lost seven out of the last nine meetings between the two schools.
>> The teams split last year's contests with UAB taking a 61-54 win at home (Jan. 12), before falling in a defensive battle at UCF arena, 41-39 (Feb. 12).
Scouting UCF >> UCF comes into today's game with a6-8 overall record and has won three-straight on the year. Most recently, the Knightscame back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Bowling Green, 59-56, on Jan. 4.
>> Briahanna Jackson leads UCF, averaging 15.3 points per game. Like the Blazers, the Knights play strong defensively, holding opponents to 61.3 points per game and force their opposition into 22.5 turnovers per contest.
>> Following Thursday's game, UCF plays at SMU on Sunday, Jan. 13.
UAB Notes UAB Opens C-USA Play >> UAB begins its 18th season of Conference USA competition on Thursday, facing UCF for the 21st time in school history. Coach Audra Smith has compiled a 62-64 (.492) record in C-USA play during her nine seasons.
Blazers Clash With UCF For 21st Time >> The Blazers hold a 12-8 all-time series advantage against the Knights as the two teams split a pair of contests last season. UAB won the first game between the two programs in the 2011-12 season, 61-54, at Bartow Arena, before falling, 41-39, in Orlando, Fla., in the last meeting.
Stout On Defense >> Under coach Audra Smith, the Blazers have become a force on the defensive side of the ball, and 2012-13 is no different. UAB is currently second in C-USA in scoring defense (53.5 ppg), just behind East Carolina's 52.4 ppg. The Blazers are also third in scoring margin (+10.8) and field-goal percentage defense (.360).
Jones, Chapman In Double Figures >> Senior guard Amber Jones and junior forward Karisma Chapman are the lone Blazers in double figures. Jones leads UAB with a 14.1 point per game average, while Chapman adds 13.5 points per contest. Chapman is also the lone Blazer to be named the Conference USA Player of the Week with that honor coming on Nov. 27 after she scored in double figures against Tennessee State (21), Alabama State (16) and High Point (17).
UAB Picked Third In C-USA >> As UAB opens the 2012-13 Conference USA season, head coach Audra Smith's team looks to build on high expectations. The league coaches picked the Blazers to finish third in the conference, while Tulane was picked to win the league ahead of last year's champion UTEP. This is UAB's 18th season of Conference USA basketball.
Good Start The Norm >> For the second-straight year, UAB is off to a strong start. The Blazers went 9-4 in non-conference action this season, while last year's team went 9-3 to begin the campaign before finishing 19-11 overall.
Blazers Fire At The Line >> UAB is the top free-throw shooting team in Conference USA with a .685 percentage for the year. The Blazers have made 187 out of 273 attempts on the year at the charity stripe.
Newcomers Stepping Up >> UAB has eight newcomers on this year's team and they have proved pivotal so far in 2012. Freshman Chelsee Black and junior Ashley Grimes lead the Blazer newcomers with Black's five games in double figures and Grimes' eight-straight starts on the year. Black is averaging 7.5 points per contest, while Grimes adds 9.9 points per game.
30 Below >> UAB set the school's single-game record by holding Arkansas-Pine Bluff to just 25 points. The previous low was a 31-point outing from South Alabama against the Blazers on Nov. 24, 1996.
Best Start Since The `90's >> The Blazers jumped out to the program's best start since the 1994-95 season when this year's addition began the campaign at 7-1. The Blazers began 1994-95 at 8-1 and went on to finish 19-9 overall.
Grimes Shines in Starts >> In her first season as a Blazer, junior forward Ashley Grimes has found herself in the starting lineup for the last eight games. The Selma, Ala., native has scored in double figures in five of those games, including 18 second-half points against George Mason on Dec. 2.
Chapman Approaching 1,000 >> Junior Karisma Chapman now has 811 points in her UAB career and needs just 189 to reach 1,000. She would be the 26th player in Blazer history to net 1,000 points.
Jones Moves Up Career Records >> Amber Jones is moving several career record charts at UAB. The senior is currently fifth in steals (190) and ninth in the 3-pointers made (124).