John Denton's Knights Insider: Carter's Half-Court Buzzer Beater Sinks UTEP


Feb. 10, 2011

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Video of Carter's Half-Court Shot

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFathletics.com) - One night after the UCF men's basketball team lost on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the right side of the court at UCF Arena, the Knights' women's team authored a dramatic finish for the ages. Almost 24 hours after UCF experienced agony in a one-point loss to Memphis, sophomore Gevenia Carter drilled a 3-pointer from 40 feet away at the buzzer to lift the Knights to a thrilling 68-65 defeat of UTEP at UCF Arena.

Carter took the ball in the backcourt, was freed up by a screen from Ashia Kelly and let go of a one-handed shot from just inside the half court stripe with two-tenths of a second remaining. The shot nicked the back iron, but otherwise went through the hoop unscathed to set off a wild reaction by UCF's players.

Referees reviewed the play, but from Carter there was no doubt - that the shot was true and that she got it off in plenty of time.

``Yeah, I thought it was good. Our motto on this team is trust and we believe in what our coach says and does. She drew it up,'' said Carter of her only 3-pointer of the game. ``Our second option was for me to just try and get a good shot and that's what I did and I hit it.''

The victory allowed UCF (13-10 overall and 6-4 in Conference USA play) to win after blowing a 12-point halftime lead and falling behind by as many as five points in the final two minutes to play. But UCF got eight points late and a season-high 26 overall from senior guard Chelsie Wiley to make the dazzling finish possible.

``You have to play 40 minutes. Every game in conference is tough so you have to fight to the end,'' UCF head coach Joi Williams said.

``We knew at halftime that a 12-point lead with the way UTEP can score wasn't a big one at all. We had some breakdowns in the second half, but I like how our kids fought back in the end.''

The win was UCF's second impressive one in a row and gave this senior class its first-ever defeat of UTEP (12-10 and 4-6). The Knights are just a game back of Memphis for the second seed for the C-USA tournament, which starts March 9 in El Paso, Texas.

Senior forward D'Nay Daniels scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior guard Aisha Patrick had 11 points and two steals and her biggest play of the night came on a steal with 24 seconds to play and the Knights trailing 65-64. Patrick was fouled hard on the layup attempt and had to leave the game and Jelisa Caldwell made a free throw with 22 seconds to remaining to tie the game at 65-all.

Carter, a reserve guard from Houston, never hesitated upon taking the inbounds pass from Caldwell with 4.6 seconds to play. She used her screen well and with a full head of steam she released the ball at seemingly the exact right moment.

``It's a good shot, definitely one of the top moments,'' said Carter, who had nine points and three rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. ``I was just shocked at first and then just like, `Yes! Let's Go!' I actually thought it was a good shot all the way.''

Added Williams: ``We had a couple of different options. We tried to get the ball long, but knew they would defend that. We ran (Carter) off a screen and I'm just proud of her for keeping her composure and being poised. We knew 4.6 (seconds) was a lot of time and she could go the length of the floor. She could have easily picked it up earlier and shot it, but she kept her eyes up and knew the time and got it off.''

UCF Athletics Director Keith Tribble, who met with the team last week and delivered an impassioned 90-minute pep talk, witnessed the shot from courtside. Just 24 hours earlier he was sullen as Memphis' guard Antonio Barton drilled a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds to play to beat UCF's men's team 63-62. But on this night the feeling was one of sheer delight.

``I saw the shot come out of (Carter's) hand and it looked good from the time it left and I was just saying to myself, `Can it make it, can it make it, can it make it?''' Tribble said. ``And when it went in it was great. It was so good for us considering that we lost one on the men's side almost in similar fashion. To have the women make that shot and go out with a win like this, it's really special.''

Down 61-56 with 2:16 to play, UCF's Wiley set the stage for the last-second heroics. She made a 3-pointer with two minutes to play, got to the line for two free throws and then her sixth 3-pointer of the night got the Knights to within 65-64 with 1:04 to play.

``This is the first time we've beaten UTEP since I've been in this program and we really wanted to win this game, especially being at home,'' said Wiley, whose Knights are 9-2 at home this season. ``We just had to keep fighting. We started off that second half with a lull, but we knew that last four minutes were when we had to win the game.''

UCF led 41-29 at the break because of the red-hot play on the offensive end of the floor and a game-turning 11-0 spurt late in the first half. The Knights got points from four different players during the 11-point run, taking the score from 17-15 to a 28-15 spread.

The Knights moved the ball especially well early on and used the long-range shooting of Wiley, the post play of Daniels and the slashing of Patrick to shred UTEP's defense. Wiley, second all-time in school history in 3-pointers made, hit three shots from beyond the arc in the first half. Her shooting helped the Knights connect on six of 12 3-poitners in the first half.

And Daniels and Patrick came up with plenty of hustle points in the first half. Daniels got to the line six times in the first half and had 11 points in the first 20 minutes, while Patrick added nine early on.

And in the end, the Knights got the miraculous shot that could set the tone for this team to make a least-season push. Conference USA champs two years ago, the Knights now have the belief that anything is possible once again down the stretch.

``They called a play for me to go to the basket, so I was right under the basket and saw the shot going in the whole way,'' Daniels said. ``I was right there and saw it right away. It looked good from when she let it go. ... We have some nice momentum, but we have to keep doing the things that we need to do to keep winning. We've been playing defense and rebounding, and if we do points of emphasis we'll keep winning.''


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