John Denton's Knights Insider: UCF Completes Weekend Sweep, 60-50


Feb. 6, 2010

Box Score | Notes

By John Denton

East Carolina at UCF
Feb. 6, 2010
Orlando, Fla. (UCF Arena)
Team 1st 2nd Final
ECU 20 29 49
UCF 29 31 60

GAY, Kim 6-12 2-2 14; CLARKE, Ashley 5-10 0-1 10; SMITH, Kelly 4-6 1-2 9; STEWART, Celeste 3-5 2-2 8; SMITH, Chareya 2-7 1-2 5; BEST, Jean 1-4 0-0 2; SPIVEY, Allison 0-6 2-2 2; ASHFORD, Shuanda 0-0 0-0 0; MORGAN, Elaine 0-0 0-0 0; JACKSON, Ariana 0-2 0-0 0; HODGES, Shala 0-0 0-0 0; THYS, Caitlin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 8-11 50.

UCF (6-12, 3-6 C-USA)
Mealing, Angelica 5-13 1-2 14; Wiley, Chelsie 4-13 2-2 13; White, Marshay 6-13 1-2 13; Cannon, Emma 3-7 2-2 8; Patrick, Aisha 2-4 1-4 5; Kelly, Ashia 1-3 2-2 4; Daniels, D'Nay 1-6 1-2 3. Totals 22-59 10-16 60.

ORLANDO, Fla. - If one win is a step, then two could very well be a full-out trot for the UCF women's basketball team. Now, the Knights are hoping they can put together a strong run similar to last season's stirring finish.

Their early-season struggles now a distant memory, UCF put together its third consecutive stellar effort and won for a second time in a row, this time beating Conference USA power East Carolina 60-50 at UCF Arena.

Remarkably, UCF (6-12, 3-6) has not trailed in the 80 minutes of the past two victories against Marshall and ECU (17-6, 6-4). UCF led or was tied all throughout Saturday's game and delivered a key 15-4 spurt after East Carolina had gotten the score tied at 42-all.

"Coach always tells us that basketball is a game of runs and they made run, but we handled ourselves with poise," said point guard Angelica Mealing, who had a team-high 14 points, four assists and three 3-pointers. "We made the last run in the game that counted the most."

Junior guard Chelsie Wiley, who poured in another 13 points and has been a driving force behind the Knights turnaround of late, is confident that UCF finally has some momentum on its side. She believes this is just the start of something great - possibly as great as last season when UCF went 11-5 in league play and won the conference title.

"We can feel the momentum rolling now and I think it's because we're learning how to win games again," Wiley said. "The key thing is us playing defense better and just focusing on winning games."

UCF won on Saturday because it outrebounded the Pirates 41-32 and held East Carolina to 40 percent shooting. UCF was at times dominant against one of the league's best teams, leading by 15 late in the first half, by nine at the break and by as much as 12 in the second half.

Marshay White scored 13, bouncing back after tallying just two Thursday. C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Emma Cannon scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.

And UCF got the job done defensively, holding East Carolina's Allison Spivey - its second-leading scorer at 11.6 points - without a field goal. Spivey missed all six of her shots and had just two points. Kim Gay led ESU with 14 points.

"We have been getting it done on the defensive end of the court and coach has been stressing that to us in practice and games," said Mealing, who had two steals and a blocked shot to go with her 13 points. "That defense just boosts our offense and it always sparks our energy, too."

Added Wiley: "We always say when we go into halftime and we're up, we say that we're down 20. That's the mindset that we have to keep."

Wiley has played like a potential all-conference performer the past five games. She shook off a major shooting slump early in the season and has averaged 18 points a game over the last five games. In that stretch, she's made 31 of 67 shots (46.2 percent) and a dazzling 47.3 percent from 3-point range (18 of 38).

"Early in the season I was second-guessing myself, doubting myself and not being aggressive," said Wiley, a Riviera Beach native. "But this time of year, I'm not thinking about it. When I think about it, that's when I miss shots. Now I'm just staying aggressive and shooting like I know I can."

UCF now must play at UAB (Friday) and at Memphis (Sunday) before returning home for two more games. The Knights season is likely riding on the next four games, and Mealing feels that UCF is poised for a strong finish like last season.

"It's definitely possible, but we just have to keep playing the way we have been the past few games. We have to finish games and get it done on the defensive end of the court," she said. "If we keep playing defense, we'll make a run going into the conference tournament."

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