Mercer Misstep

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - A fourth quarter rally fell short for the UCF women's basketball team as they dropped a 73-64 decision to Mercer in Friday night's season opener in CFE Arena.

"We came out with a slow start," UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "The fourth quarter is how we should start the game. (Mercer) came out ready to go."

Senior Fifi Ndour recorded her sixth career double-double. The Dakar, Senegal native finished with a career-high 24 points on 10-for-11 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Bears, who were the preseason favorites to win the Southern Conference regular season for the third straight campaign, jumped out to a 10-4 lead and held a 20-8 edge after one quarter of action.

The Knights matched Mercer nearly point-for-point in the second quarter, but trailed 36-23 heading into halftime.

Mercer extended its lead, going ahead by as many as 24 points late in the third quarter and took a 59-37 advantage into the final 10 minutes of action.

UCF began to chip away at the Bears' lead, starting the fourth quarter with a pair of free throws from Ndour. A three-pointer from junior Kayla Thigpen cut the Mercer lead to single digits, 69-60, with 33 seconds remaining.

The Knights pulled within seven points, 71-64, with 14 ticks left in the game before Mercer sank a pair of free throws for the final score.

In addition to Ndour, Kayla Thigpen added 14 points. In her debut in the Black and Gold, redshirt senior Zakiya Saunders finished with 11 points and five assists. Sophomore Korneila Wright dished out a team-best eight assists, while redshirt junior Nyala Shuler finished with three steals.

UCF hits the road for a three-game stretch. The Knights head to Chattanooga for a 6:30 p.m. contest on Nov. 13, following by trips to Gardner-Webb on Nov. 17 and Virginia Tech on Nov. 19.

The UCF women's basketball team is set for its second season under head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. Season tickets are on sale now for $40. Click here or call (407) 823-1000 for ticket information.

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