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By Jenna Marina
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF women's basketball team bowed out of the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Friday's first round action against Cincinnati. Although the Knights turned it on in the second half, they couldn't compensate enough for their first-half foul trouble in the 76-66 loss at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Once down by 25 points, the Knights battled back to within 9 points with 8:39 remaining in the second half. But the Bearcats rattled off a quick 8 points to regain some of the momentum and with it, sealed the Knights' fate.
Freshman Aliyah Gregory paced three Knights in double figures with 19 points, netting 14 in the second half alone. Sophomore Zykira Lewis chipped in 12 points and senior Andrea Hines tallied 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in her final game as a Knight.
Starters Gregory, Fifi Ndour and Brittni Montgomery each picked up three fouls in the first half, forcing them to limited minutes. In fact, the Knights were cited for 12 fouls in the first half, allowing Cincinnati to pick up an extra 14 points from the charity stripe.
With the exception of a Lewis layup with 7:25 to go before the break, Cincinnati was able to put together an 18-2 run for its largest lead of the half, 41-16. UCF put together an 8-2 spurt in the last four minutes to trail 43-24 at the break.
UCF ended up outscoring Cincinnati 42-33 in the second half but simply ran out of time to pull off the comeback.
Lewis, who was presented with her all-conference second team award prior to tipoff, finished the year by etching her name among the program's single-season leaders for:
- 86 3-pointers (No. 1)
- 567 points (No. 3)
- 207 field goals (No. 4)
- .807 FT percentage (No. 8)
UCF closed the season with a 9-21 record, including a 5-13 stretch during conference play.