John Denton's Knights Insider: Scoring Droughts Doom Knights at Home


Feb. 18, 2010 Box Score

Rice at UCF
Feb. 18, 2010
Orlando, Fla. (UCF Arena)
Team 1st 2nd Final
Rice 27 38 65
UCF 26 33 59

RICE (12-13, 6-6 C-USA)
STANLEY, Jackie 8-15 5-6 21; TASKILA, Opal 7-12 0-0 14; SMART, D'Frantz 5-10 2-3 14; McKINNEY, Amenemope 3-6 5-6 11; ELLIOTT, Megan 1-6 1-4 4; MAYSE, Morgan 0-2 1-2 1; ASHFORD, Candace 0-0 0-0 0; HORNE, Shyrelle 0-0 0-0 0; HYPOLITE, Brianna 0-2 0-0 0; WATTS, Tara 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-56 14-21 65.

UCF (7-14, 4-8 C-USA)
Daniels, D'Nay 6-15 3-4 15; White, Marshay 6-18 1-2 15; Mealing, Angelica 3-7 2-2 9; Wiley, Chelsie 3-11 1-1 8; Cannon, Emma 3-6 1-3 7; Kelly, Ashia 1-3 0-0 3; Paige, Leah 1-1 0-1 2; Caldwell, Jelisa 0-0 0-0 0; Patrick, Aisha 0-7 0-2 0; Carter, Gevenia 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-69 8-15 59.

Orlando, Fla. - UCF started strong and finished with a flurry on Thursday night, but it was those long stretches of poor shooting and frustrating defensive possessions that led to a disappointing loss to Rice.

UCF jumped to a 10-point lead in the game's first six minutes, clawed back to within one point of the lead midway through the second half, but couldn't overcome two six-minute scoring droughts in a 65-59 home loss to Rice.

The loss was a particularly disappointing one for UCF (7-14 overall and 4-8 in Conference USA play) after having won three of the previous four games. UCF's final home game is Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Houston before closing the regular season with three straight road games.

The defending Conference USA champion Knights know that building some momentum before the March 8-12 conference tourney in Tulsa, Okla., is a must.

"We've got to start taking care of business. (Rice) didn't do anything that surprised us," UCF coach Joi Williams said. "It just came down to us not getting stops. To come into Saturday, in our last game in the arena for this season, we need to play with a lot of pride. We're playing a Houston team that's very good on the road and has a lot of weapons. So we've got to come with our defense and rebounding on Saturday."

UCF outscored Rice (12-13 overall, 6-6 in C-USA play) 15-5 at the start and 16-9 over the final four minutes of the game, but the Knights couldn't overcome two down stretches that took a toll on the team on both ends of the floor.

UCF's fast start and early 10-point lead was undone by a 6-minute, 28-secpond stretch in which it missed 11 consecutive shots and turned the ball over three times.

And in the second half, after UCF had a rapid-fire stretch of seven consecutive points, the Knights went from the 8:52 mark to the 3:52 mark without scoring. Rice scored 12 consecutive points during that stretch to turn a 44-43 game into a 56-43 spread. That five-minute stretch saw UCF miss six shots in a row and commit two more turnovers.

"We just weren't finishing shots all night. We got 13 more shots than they did, but we weren't doing what we were supposed to do to finish those shots," said UCF forward D'Nay Daniels, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds and made six of 15 shots. "We got the shots that we wanted, but it was just a matter of us not finishing off plays."

Marshay White, who had a career-best 26 points last week in a win at UAB, scored 15 points and made two 3-pointers. Preseason C-USA Player of the Year pick Emma Cannon came off the bench and contributed seven points, 12 rebounds and two steals. Chelsie Wiley, UCF's best offensive player much of the past six weeks, struggled through a three of 11 night and scored eight points.

Williams thought her Knights weren't nearly aggressive enough offensively and too often settled for jump shots when driving lanes into the paint were available. The Knights attempted 17 3-pointers, but made just five. And only 26 of UCF's 59 points came in the paint.

"We should have done a better job of penetrating and getting 3-point shots and jumpers on kick-outs. We took a lot of shots from the first side of our offense and that's not who we are,'' Williams said. "We didn't do a good job of getting to the paint consistently. And late we didn't get stops and just put even more pressure on our offense. You just can't do that against any team."

UCF trailed 27-26 at the half, and that was shocking considering that the Knights jumped to a 15-5 lead just six minutes into the game. A 10-0 run by UCF, capped by a run-out layup from Daniels, sent Rice into an early timeout. UCF forced seven first-half turnovers, converting them into nine early points.

But throughout the game, UCF was unable to contain Rice post players Jackie Stanley (21 points and seven rebounds) and Opal Taskila (14 points and 12 rebounds). Williams feels that UCF's offensive struggles led to some lapses on the defensive end throughout the game.

"We had a lot of good looks, but shots weren't falling. That just means we have to do better on the defensive end," Williams said. "We didn't block out on the boards and gave up a lot of offensive rebounds.

"We've got to put it all together. I think one affected another (with the offense and the defense)," a visibly upset Williams continued. "Human nature is that if you're not scoring you're not going to have as much energy on the defensive end. We've just got to keep our energy level high whether we're making shots or not."