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February 27, 2015
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Feb. 28, 2015

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By Jenna Marina
UCFKnights.com

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF women's basketball team produced one of its best first halves of the season on Saturday, but unfortunately the Knights couldn't duplicate it for another 20 minutes. UCF closed out the home slate with a 99-71 loss to USF.

The Knights went punch for punch with their rival, who is receiving votes in the national polls, in the first half, trailing just 43-41 at halftime. UCF couldn't be stopped behind the 3-point line, sinking a lights-out 7-of-12 from downtown in the first 20 minutes.

UCF's 41 points was the team's best production in the first half since the season opener.

Leading by 7 points with 13 minute remaining in the game, USF enjoyed a 17-0 run that allowed the Bulls to build a comfortable enough advantage until the final buzzer.

Sophomore Zykira Lewis posted her second-straight 20 point outing while Aliyah Gregory sank a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range en route to 16 points. Guard Andrea Hines shined on Senior Knight with a season-high 14 points on the strength of a 6-of-9 performance from the field.

After falling behind by 7 points early, the Knights clawed back and tied it up at 18 with Hines' steal and coast to coast layup. The Bulls were able to capitalize on a 4-point play when Laura Ferreira was fouled on a made 3-pointer and used it to fuel a 15-4 run for their largest lead of the half, 33-22.

Hines sank a 3-pointer that ignited a visible spark of energy in her team. It was also the first of four in a row from behind the arc for the Knights. Lewis added another jumper and Gregory followed to give their team a 38-36 edge.

The teams traded baskets over the final five minutes and USF got the final say of the half when Ferreira snuck in a layup for a slim 43-41 advantage at the break.

UCF took back the lead, 47-45, in the opening minutes after Lewis found Gregory for a 3-pointer in front of UCF's bench. USF scored 10 unanswered until Gregory broke the spell with yet another 3-pointer with 13:34 remaining, 59-52.

Unfortunately, the Knights just couldn't contain the Bulls the rest of the way.

Following the game, seniors Andrea Hines, Brittni Montgomery, Yanique Gordon, Bryeasha Blair and Stephanie Taylor were honored for their time spent in Black and Gold uniforms.

UCF closes the regular season on Monday at East Carolina at 7 p.m. on the American Digital Network. It will be the first meeting of the two teams since their Conference USA days.

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