Hurricane Handled

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TULSA, Okla. (UCFKnights.com) – For the second game in a row, redshirt senior Zakiya Saunders turned in a 20-point performance, lifting the UCF women's basketball team to a 47-44 win over Tulsa on Saturday afternoon in the Reynolds Center.
"I think each team played really good defense," UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "I'm very proud of (my team) for focusing and finishing every game off."
UCF (14-7, 6-2 The American) trailed Tulsa (8-13, 2-6 The American) by one, 10-9, after Shug Dickson hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer to end the first quarter.
The Knights opened the second quarter scoring six unanswered to take a 14-10 lead. Trading baskets down the stretch, the teams found themselves tied, 18-18, with 17 ticks left in the frame. Junior Kayla Thigpen put the Black and Gold out front 21-18 with UCF's first three-pointer of the game just before the clock expired.
A five-point spurt pushed UCF's edge to eight, 26-18, at the beginning of the third quarter. The Hurricane responded, cutting the Black and Gold advantage to one, 30-29, heading to the fourth quarter.
Tulsa opened the fourth quarter with a layup to take the lead, and pushed its advantage to three, 35-32, with 7:04 left in the final frame. A free throw from senior Aliyah Gregory, followed by back-to-back jumpers from sophomore Korneila Wright saw the momentum swing back in favor of the Knights. A fastbreak layup for Saunders put UCF in front, 39-35, and forced Tulsa into a timeout.  UCF withstood a late push from the Hurricane to clinch the 47-44 victory.
In addition to her 20 points, Saunders tied with freshman Masseny Kaba for a team-leading seven rebounds. Korneila Wright dished out five assists. Kaba collected a team-high three steals, and redshirt junior Nyala Shuler finished with a game-high three blocks.
Zakiya Saunders turned in her second straight 20-point performance.

  • The Augusta, Ga., native has hit the 20-point mark four times this season, with both occasions coming in back-to-back games.
  • Saunders has scored in double figures in all but one league contest this season, and is averaging 14.4 points per game.
  • A three-pointer at the 6:41 mark of the third quarter gave Saunders 12 treys on the season, and 11 in league play.

The UCF defense held Tulsa to 44 points.

  • The Knights limited the Hurricane to 44 points, their fifth-lowest output this season.
  • UCF is now 4-0 in league play when holding its opponent under 50. 
  • The Black and Gold forced Tulsa into 15 turnovers, scoring 10 points with six coming on the fastbreak.

The Knights posted their sixth win in The American.

  • UCF's third straight win marked its sixth win, the second-most for the program since joining the league in 2013-14.
  • The Knights set a program-best with nine wins during the 2016-17 campaign.
  • Saturday's victory marks the first time that the Knights have posted back-to-back six-win seasons in the league.

UCF travels to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats on Jan. 30. The teams will tip off at 7 p.m.
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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