Second-Half Comeback Propels East Carolina Past UCF


Feb. 17, 2008

GREENVILLE, N.C. (www.ucfathletics.com) - East Carolina out-rebounded the UCF women's basketball team 52-34 and rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to edge the Knights, 78-69, on Sunday in Minges Coliseum to complete the team's two-game road swing.

The Knights (8-17, 1-11 Conference USA) were led by freshman guard D'Nay Daniels' (Atlanta) game-high 20 points as one of three UCF players in double-figure scoring. Freshman guard Chelsie Wiley (Riviera Beach, Fla.) tied her career high with 16 points, while freshman guard Marshay White (Rochester, N.Y.) added 11 points and a squad-best five assists. Freshman forward/center Tia Lewis (Poulan, Ga.) led the team in rebounding for the 18th time this season.

"There was a big difference in the two halves tonight," UCF head coach Joi Williams said. "Our players are still trying to find their way and they played a great half, but you have to play hard both halves. On the road, you have to rebound and play defense. Our defense was pretty good, but we gave up second-chance points and that's what really hurt us. East Carolina has some big time players and they really stepped up tonight."

East Carolina (12-13, 6-6 C-USA) benefitted from a strong performance on the offensive boards, as it did in its first game this season with the Knights on Feb. 2. The Lady Pirates had 19 offensive rebounds and out-scored UCF in second-chance points 22-6.

The Knights, who shot nearly 50 percent in the first half, finished the game shooting 43.5 percent (30-of-69) from the floor. East Carolina connected on 50 percent (14-of-28) of its second half shots to finish the game with a 39.1 percent (25-of-64) efficiency from the field. UCF knocked down six three pointers in the game, with each of its long-range makes coming in the second half.

Daniels eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the second time in her career, coming just shy of her career-high 22-point performance vs. Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 15. Junior center Jackie Akers (Cape Coral, Fla.) played a strong 30 minutes off the bench, tying her season high with seven rebounds. Freshman guard Angelica Mealing (Decatur, Ga.) added eight points off the bench for UCF.

"It was great to see our bench step up," Williams said. "I thought Jackie Akers did a great job on defense. Jelisa Caldwell and Angelica Mealing also did a good job of coming in and stepping up off the bench."

The Knights broke out to an early 9-5 advantage at the 16:42 mark of the opening half after a basket by Lewis and a resounding three-pointer by White from the top of the key. A three-pointer and a pair of free throws by East Carolina allowed the Lady Pirates to knot the score at 12-all with 14:16 left in the first half.

Lewis drained a jumper from just inside the arc and Daniels knocked down a three to break the tie and put UCF ahead 17-12 with 13:29 remaining until halftime. ECU used a 5-0 run of its own to again tie the score at 17-17 before the Knights used back-to-back three-pointers from Wiley and Daniels to go reclaim the lead at 25-17 with 8:38 left in the period. UCF led by as many as 11 points (32-21) with 5:34 to go in the half.

The Knights took a 38-30 advantage into the locker room at intermission after making six three pointers and committing just seven turnovers. UCF shot an impressive 48.5 percent (16-of-33) from the floor in the opening period, knocking down 75 percent (6-of-8) three-pointers. The Knights limited East Carolina to just 30.6 percent (11-of-36) shooting from the field in the first half.

East Carolina used a 7-2 run to open the second half that cut its deficit down to three, 40-37, at the 18:13 mark and force Williams to burn an early timeout. The Lady Pirates came as close as one, 40-39, before a hoop by Wiley with 17:07 left stopped the scoring streak. After the teams traded baskets, a three-pointer by ECU's Jasmine Young knotted the score at 46-all with 15:35 remaining in the game.

After two more ties, the Lady Pirates' LaCoya Terry hit a three-pointer to give ECU its first lead of the second half at 53-50 at the 11:51 mark. The Lady Pirates capped off their 9-0 run with back-to-back baskets by Lauren Cochran that extended their advantage to 57-50 with 10:02 remaining.

White and Daniels had consecutive baskets to bring the Knights within three, 57-54, but East Carolina kept rolling to a 65-56 advantage, capped off by a three-point play by Allison Spivey at the 5:56 mark. Wiley nailed consecutive baskets to cut UCF's deficit to five, 65-60, but Spivey responded with a three for the Lady Pirates to extend their lead back out to eight with 4:02 left. East Carolina made clutch free throws down the stretch to secure the win.

UCF returns to action Friday when it plays host to Tulane. Tip-off in the New UCF Arena is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be carried live on UCFAthletics.com with Scott Adams.

UCF will play host to the 2008 Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament, March 6-9, at the new UCF Arena. Single-game and session ticket packages are now available. Call the UCFAA Ticket Sales Office at 407-823-1000. For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.