UCF Knocks Off Southern Miss 65-59 in Conference Opener


Jan. 3, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Sophomore Emma Cannon (Rochester, N.Y.) scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds as UCF (3-11, 1-0 C-USA) opened Conference USA play on a high note Saturday afternoon at UCF Arena, dispatching Southern Miss (7-7, 0-1 C-USA) 65-59 in women's basketball action. With the win the Knights downed the team picked to win C-USA in the preseason coaches' poll.

It was the program's first win in 13 meeting against the Golden Eagles, and the first time UCF earned a victory in its C-USA opener since joining the conference. Each of the previous three conference openers were also against Southern Miss.

"It is very satisfying to get the win, first with it being at home and then in conference play is even better," said head coach Joi Williams. "I am really excited about our team accepting the challenge to play hard for 40 minutes today. Usually when we get in lulls we have breakdowns, and today I thought we stepped us and fought hard against a very good Southern Miss team. Hopefully this will give us some momentum."

The Knights came out of the halftime break trailing by a point, but ripped off a 12-3 spurt to begin the second half and never trailed again. The run included a pair of threes by sophomore Chelsie Wiley (Riviera Beach, Fla.), and Cannon capped the run with a layup at the 15:58 mark to give the hosts their biggest lead of the game at 41-33.

Getting six points from Pauline Love, the Golden Eagles went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 43-43, but Cannon and D'Nay Daniels (Atlanta, Ga.) scored back-to-back buckets inside and the Knights led the rest of the way.

Love led all players with 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles. She hit 9-for-17 from the field and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.

The Golden Eagles cut the lead to as small as two on five occasions over the final eight minutes, but each time UCF answered to increase the spread. Leading just 57-56 with 1:10 remaining after a Love jumper, the Knights knocked down all eight of their free throws in the final 62 seconds to seal the game.

Southern Miss led 15-10 early in the game before Cannon scored four points during a 9-0 spurt that put UCF in front 19-15 at the 8:27 mark.

Cannon scored 12 of her 18 points before halftime and finished the game 9-of-15 from the floor. She finished just one rebound shy of her seventh double-double of the season.

Southern Miss closed the opening half on a 7-3 run to lead 30-29 at the break.

Cannon received plenty of help from her teammates as three other starters reached double figures. Sophomore Angelica Mealing (Decatur, Ga.) scored 13 points after tallying just two combined in the previous two games. Freshman Aisha Patrick (Rockledge, Fla.) and Wiley chipped in 12 and 10 respectively.

Patrick had a solid floor game all-around, leading the Knights with seven assists and five steals while also contributing five rebounds. As a team, UCF had 16 assists with a season-low 11 turnovers while also collecting 12 steals to the Golden Eagles' five.

"Aisha did a fantastic job. She fills the stat sheet up every night, and I am proud of her effort in her first conference game," said Williams. She did a phenomenal job of being involved and getting her teammates involved. Hopefully she can build on this game and get more and more confident."

The Knights return to the road for a three-game conference trip away from home, beginning Thursday, Jan. 8 at Memphis at 8 p.m. UCF split its two meetings with the Tigers a season ago.

Season tickets for the UCF women's basketball program are currently on sale through the UCF ticket sales office. For more information about the arena's premium seating options, including club seats, group discounts, courtside tables and suites, contact the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000 or visit the women's basketball ticket page at UCFAthletics.cstv.com/tickets/w-baskbl-tickets.html.

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.

Newspaper Box Score
USM vs UCF 1/3/08 2 p.m. at Orlando, Fla. (UCF Arena) At Orlando, Fla. (UCF Arena)

UCF 65, USM 59

USM (7-7, 0-1 C-USA)
LOVE, Pauline 9-17 4-6 22; BARBER, Andrea 5-9 1-3 13; REED, Kendra 2-6 3-4 7; EUGENE, Amber 2-7 3-4 7; HELGESON, Stephanie 2-6 0-0 4; RUCKER, Candace 2-8 0-0 4; WASHINGTON, Tanesha 1-1 0-0 2; MARTIN, Ashley 0-0 0-0 0; MAYS, Shanice 0-0 0-0 0; JOHNSON, Brittany 0-0 0-0 0; GATLING, Erin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 11-17 59.

UCF (3-11, 1-0 C-USA)
Cannon, Emma 9-15 0-0 18; Mealing, Angelica 3-10 6-7 13; Patrick, Aisha 4-12 4-4 12; Wiley, Chelsie 3-10 2-3 10; Caldwell, Jelisa 2-5 0-0 5; Kirkpatrick, Amber 1-6 1-1 3; White, Marshay 1-3 0-0 2; Daniels, D'Nay 1-6 0-0 2; Paige, Leah 0-0 0-2 0; Davis, Racine 0-0 0-0 0; Kelly, Ashia 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-67 13-17 65.

USM........................... 30 29 - 59
UCF........................... 29 36 - 65

3-point goals--USM 2-7 (BARBER, Andrea 2-2; REED, Kendra 0-3; HELGESON, Stephanie 0-1; RUCKER, Candace 0-1), UCF 4-12 (Wiley, Chelsie 2-5; Mealing, Angelica 1-2; Caldwell, Jelisa 1-3; White, Marshay 0-1; Kirkpatrick, Amber 0-1). Fouled out--USM-EUGENE, Amber, UCF-None. Rebounds--USM 43 (LOVE, Pauline 13), UCF 39 (Cannon, Emma 9). Assists--USM 15 (BARBER, Andrea 5; EUGENE, Amber 5), UCF 16 (Patrick, Aisha 7). Total fouls--USM 20, UCF 18. Technical fouls--USM-None, UCF-None. A-604

- Cannon scored in double figures for the 12th time in 14 games this season.
- Wiley scored in double figures for the sixth-straight game and ninth time this season. The game marked the first time this season UCF had won when Wiley was not the leading scorer.
- Patrick became the first UCF player this season to tally five steals in a game. She leads the team with 31 on the season.
- With 16 assists and a season-low 11 turnovers, the Knights' assist-to-turnover ratio was above one for the first time this season.
- The win was the first all-time against Southern Miss in 13 meetings.
- UCF won its C-USA opener for the first time since joining the league, a span of four years. The game marked the fourth time in as many years UCF and Southern Miss have opened conference play against each other.