Knights' Nonconference Schedule Ends with Victory Over Valdosta State


Jan. 2, 2011

Final Stats

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Box Score: UCF 72, Valdosta State 44

By Pat Salvas

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior D'Nay Daniels (Atlanta, Ga.) scored a team-high 18 points as the UCF women's basketball team finished its 2010-11 nonconference schedule with a 72-44 win over Valdosta State (5-7) Sunday afternoon at the UCF Arena. With the victory, the Knights (7-6) head into Conference USA play with a winning record for the first time since joining the league in 2005.

Seniors Chelsie Wiley (Riviera Beach, Fla.) and Jelisa Caldwell (Macon, Ga.) both scored in double figures to help the Knights to the 28-point win Sunday. Wiley scored 14, while Caldwell finished with 11. For Caldwell, it was the fourth-straight game of 10 or more points; a career first.

"I liked the way we started out and how aggressive we were," head coach Joi Williams said. "Our defense helped lead us to some points in transition. The thing that we need to take away, though, is the lulls in the game. Moving into conference play we need to be alert for the full 40 minutes."

The Knights jumped out 12-0 to start the game and built on that lead in the first half to 25, leading 31-6 midway through the period. UCF held Valdosta to just 19 points at halftime, tying its second best first-half defensive effort this season.

The second half started with more defensive pressure from the Knights. UCF held the Blazers without a point for the first 8:16 of the period, building its lead to 35 in the process, 54-19.

That's when the Blazers got hot from behind the three-point line. Connecting on just nine field goals in the second half, seven came from beyond the arc. Valdosta put together a 15-4 over the next four a half minutes on five three pointers.

It wasn't until the 4:56 mark in the half that Shakeda Richie connected on a jumper from the elbow that the Blazers made a two-point field goal.

It appeared the Blazers' first two-point basket would come with 12:20 showing on the clock. Jordan Waugh looked as if she would finish a Valdosta 3-on-1 with a lay-up, but was denied by senior guard Angelica Mealing (Decatur, Ga.), the lone UCF defender. Swatting the shot away, Mealing collected the rebound before making a long pass up the floor to Daniels for the easy lay-up at the other end.

For the game, the Knights shot 43.8 percent (28-64) from the field, while Valdosta connected on 32.1 percent (17-53) of its attempts from the floor. The Blazers' 9-of-23 (39.1%) from three-point range edged UCF's 5-of-17 (29.4% from three.

Junior forward Ashia Kelly (Longview, Texas) had a season-high eight rebounds to lead all players. Junior Aisha Patrick's (Rockledge, Fla.) five assists were a team high and matched her with the Blazers' Amanda Haven.

Brittany Ferguson led all players with 23 points in the game on 9-of-18 shooting, including five from beyond the arc. Daniels was 9-of-14 from the floor in the game, while Wiley's four three-point field goals were a team best.

"This senior class has never had a winning season headed into conference play, so this win was really big for them," Williams said. "Obviously we would've liked to win more games, but that's in the past. We are proud that the record is over .500.

"We have to wipe the slate clean and start all over in conference," Williams added. "The league is wide open this year and we are excited to be a contender at the end."

UCF will open its C-USA schedule on Thursday night at Rice. The Knights and Owls are set to tip-off at 8 p.m. EST. Following that game, UCF will return home for its C-USA home opener on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. against Southern Miss.

Season and single-game tickets are on sale now as well with season ticket packages starting at just $39. Fans can purchase tickets online here or by calling (407) UCF-1000.