Handling Houston

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – A season-best performance led UCF to an 85-59 win over Houston in American Athletic Conference action on Wednesday night inside CFE Arena.
"That was a lot of fun," head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "Every game I say to our team that we've got to find little miracles. (Tonight) was the most we've scored in the season. I didn't know that, but that's awesome."
UCF (14-9, 4-6 The American) used season-best performances from senior Zykira Lewis (29 points) and junior Aliyah Gregory (28 points) to earn the regular season sweep of Houston (9-15, 2-9 The American).
Heading into the second quarter tied at 18, the Knights poured in 25 points over the next 10 minutes of action to take a 43-33 into the locker rooms. The Cougars looked to close the gap in the third quarter, and pulled within six, 57-51, heading into the final frame.
Determined to finish strong, the UCF defense stepped up in the fourth quarter. The Knights limited Houston to just eight points and used eight steals to help force the Cougars into 15 turnovers down the stretch. The Black and Gold put up 28 points on the offensive end to cruise to the home win.
The Knights have now doubled their win total from the 2015-16 season and, with four wins in conference action, have matched their league victories from a season ago.
Zykira Lewis led all scorers with 29 points, followed closely by junior Aliyah Gregory, who finished with 28. Redshirt sophomore Nyala Shuler grabbed a team-leading eight rebounds, while junior Fifi Ndour pulled down seven boards.
Sophomore Ashley Polacek tied her career-best with eight assists, and freshman Korneila Wright collected a game-high five steals, four of which came in the fourth quarter.
Great Guards
• For the second time this season, a pair of Knights hit the 20-point mark in the game. The last time that UCF had a pair of 20-point scorers came on Dec. 17 at Georgia Southern (Zykira Lewis, 21 points; Tolulope Omokore 20 points).
• Junior Aliyah Gregory turned in her second-straight game with 28 points. The Tampa, Fla., native shot 64.7 percent from the field and grabbed a season-best seven rebounds. She dished out four assists and swiped four steals.
• Not to be outdone, senior Zykira Lewis poured in a season-high 29 points, hitting six three-pointers. She dished out three assists and collected a pair of steals in the win.
Dominant Defense
• UCF forced Houston into 29 turnovers, tying the most by an opponent this season (Omaha, Dec. 20).
• The Knights scored 44 points off the Cougar miscues, which marks the most points UCF has scored off turnovers this season. The previous high was 37 points scored off 29 Omaha turnovers.
• The Black and Gold's 16 steals are tied for the fifth-most this season, and are the most the UCF has swiped against a conference opponent this season.
Hustling Houston
• With Wednesday's win over the Cougars, UCF completed the regular season sweep of Houston.
• The Knights posted a 62-48 win in Hofheinz Pavilion on Jan. 11.
• Since joining the American Athletic Conference prior to the 2013-14 season, the Knights have earned both wins over the Cougars during the regular season three times (2014, 2015, 2017). Houston is the only team that UCF has swept regular season meetings against in The American.
Next up, UCF hits the road for a contest at Tulsa on Saturday. The Knights face the Hurricane at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET on the American Digital Network.
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