John Denton's Knights Insider: Women's Basketball Leads Tulane at Halftime of C-USA Championship Game

March 12, 2011

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By John Denton

EL PASO, Texas - Jelisa Caldwell and Gevenia Carter, two of the heroes of UCF's overtime defeat of Tulane in February, have combined for 19 points and the Knights lead the Green Wave 41-35 at halftime of the Conference USA Championship Game.

Caldwell started the game well and has 11 points, while Carter scored eight points off the bench for the Knights. UCF senior guard Chelsie Wiley also has eight points, while junior forward Ashia Kelly continued her strong play in the tournament with seven points in the first half.

Second-seeded UCF, winners of 10 straight games coming into the game, has proven to be the tougher team so far, owning a 25-12 advantage on the boards. Fourth-seeded Tulane made 52 percent of its shots (14 of 27) in the first half.

UCF reached the championship game by rallying back from 15 points down on Thursday against UAB and routing Memphis on Friday in the semifinals. The Knights are attempting to win their second C-USA title in three years after doing so in 2009.

Tulane, the defending C-USA champs, got to the title game a second straight year by upsetting Houston on Friday.

With a victory tonight, the Knights will automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament and begin play either Friday or Saturday. UCF has played in the NCAAs three times previously and nearly upset third-seeded North Carolina in 2009. If the Knights lose to Tulane, they will most likely accept a bid to the Women's National Invitational Tournament.

UCF defeated Tulane in the regular season by rallying back from 10 points down in the final seven minutes. The Knights won 73-69 in overtime on Feb. 17 by getting clutch performances from Aisha Patrick, Gevenia Carter and Caldwell.

The Knights jumped to a 19-14 lead early in the game by making eight of their first 14 shots and getting nine points from Caldwell. The senior guard made four of her first five shots, including a deep 3-pointer from the wing.

With both offenses clicking early in the game, the two teams traded the lead eight times early on.


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