John Denton's Knights Insider: Wiley's Milestone Night Sparks Win


Feb. 20, 2010

Box Score | Notes

Houston at UCF
Feb. 20, 2010
Orlando, Fla. (UCF Arena)
Team 1st 2nd Final
Houston 26 40 66
UCF 41 37 78

HOUSTON (13-13, 7-6 C-USA)
LANDRY, Porsche 8-18 4-7 22; TAYLOR, Courtney 8-15 3-4 20; SCOTT, Brittney 4-11 0-0 9; MASON, Lesslee 2-6 1-3 5; JOHNSON, Jasmine 2-7 0-1 4; JOSEPH, Ashlee' 2-3 0-0 4; MASON, Brittany 1-3 0-1 2; BUTTON, Roxana 0-1 0-0 0; MORTON, Megan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-64 8-16 66.

UCF (8-14, 5-8 C-USA)
Wiley, Chelsie 6-13 8-8 21; Mealing, Angelica 4-7 6-7 15; Cannon, Emma 5-10 3-4 13; Patrick, Aisha 5-8 2-4 12; White, Marshay 2-12 3-5 7; Daniels, D'Nay 3-8 0-0 6; Carter, Gevenia 0-2 2-2 2; Kelly, Ashia 1-4 0-0 2; Paige, Leah 0-0 0-0 0; Caldwell, Jelisa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-64 24-30 78.

Orlando, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Two nights after one of its worst shooting nights of the season, UCF's women's basketball team came back Saturday night locked and loaded and delivered one of its finest shooting performances.

And UCF coach Joi Williams is convinced that the difference was more because of a mindset change than simply the ball falling one night and not on another night.

UCF scored its third-most points of the season by getting four players in double digits and holding a staggering 55-28 rebounding advantage in a 78-66 whipping of Houston that was one of the Knights' finest wins of the season.

"The ball needs to go in, but we were better because we played more aggressively, we more points in the paint and we shot 30 free throws," Williams said. "Being aggressive, that was the difference between (Saturday) and Thursday night. We played passive on Thursday, but we were aggressive tonight."

UCF (8-14 overall and 5-8 in Conference USA play) bounced back from a frustrating 65-59 loss to Rice two nights earlier with a defeat of one of C-USA's best teams. Houston fell to 13-13 overall and 7-6 in league play.

Junior guard Chelsie Wiley had a team-high 21 points and scored her 1,000th career point with 56 seconds left in the first half. She made six of 13 shots, hit all eight of her free throws and grabbed six rebounds. She said she had no clue that she was close to moving into the 1,000-point club, but her focus was intently on helping UCF win in its final home game of the regular season.

"We needed this game really badly and I think we showed that with the way we started off the game," said Wiley, a junior from Riviera Beach. "We gave a lot of effort and we stayed hungry throughout the game. We needed a game like this to start building some momentum before the conference tournament in a couple of weeks."

Before competing in the C-USA tournament in Tulsa, Okla., a tournament that the Knights won last season with four victories in four days, the Knights must close the regular season with road games at SMU (Thursday), Tulsa (Saturday) and Southern Miss (March 3). The C-USA tourney is March 8-12.

"You always need momentum and a strong mind going into a tournament because you know that it's one-and-done and there's no coming back after you lose a game," junior center Emma Cannon said. "Our main goal is to get back to the NCAA tournament, so it's good to start building momentum now before the (conference) tournament."

Cannon looked like the player picked as the C-USA preseason Player of the Year, scoring 13 points and grabbing 15 rebounds (seven offensive rebounds). Point guard Angelica Mealing scored 15 points, handed out five assists, swiped three steals and had several key plays down the stretch.

And Aisha Patrick had her best all-around game of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds while also holding Houston standout Brittney Scott to just nine points. Scott had scored in double figures in 18 of the last 19 games, but made just four of 11 shots against Patrick's smothering defenses.

UCF was downright dominant in the first half, making 16 of 30 shots (53.3 percent) and outrebounding Houston 28-8 in the first 20 minutes. UCF outscored Houston 12-0 in second-chance points in the first half and led 41-26 at the break.

"That was huge for us getting off to a start like that and we didn't know (about the rebounding advantage) until they brought the stat sheet in at halftime," said Cannon, who had nine points and nine rebounds in the first half. "We knew our rebounding would get us to where we needed to be.''

Wiley said she was shocked when the public-address announcer told the crowd about her joining the 1,000-point club. She allowed herself a moment to revel in the applause, but came right back 35 seconds later and scored on a short jumper in the lane.

And she steadied UCF in the second half when things got tense. She had a tough 3-point play in traffic after Houston got to within 55-49 and she hit two more free throws after Houston cut the deficit to four in the second half.

"Getting my 1,000th point was pretty awesome, but I didn't know that I was that close. It's good to join the club with Emma (Cannon)," Wiley said. "I heard them make the announcement, but I knew I had to play defense. And I was just focused on trying to score that last possession of the half so we could in the locker room with a nice cushion."

John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.