Knights Withstand Golden Hurricane

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO – Courtajia Sanders drove to the basket with just under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, laying in what proved to be the game winner as the UCF women's basketball team held off Tulsa in a 55-53 decision Saturday afternoon in Addition Financial Arena.
UCF (12-2, 10-1 The American) withstood a challenge from Tulsa (5-11, 4-11 The American) to extend its win streak to seven games.
Each time the Golden Hurricane looked to take control of the game, the Knights responded.
The Golden Hurricane jumped out to the early lead, holding a 12-7 advantage after the first quarter. Ahna Burney came off the bench to start the second frame, opening with a 5-0 run by herself to pull the Black and Gold even at 12-12. Tulsa pushed back out to a 20-16 edge with six minutes left in the period, but the Knights outscored the visitors 9-2 down the stretch to take a 25-22 edge into the locker room.
Diamond Battles opened the second half with a steal and a pair of free throws to push UCF's lead to five, 27-22, but the Golden Hurricane hung around. Tulsa evened the score at 29 leading into the media timeout, but the home squad never allowed the visitors to go in front. A basket from Brittney Smith with two seconds remaining put the Knights in front 40-37 heading into the final period.
UCF led by as many as five points midway through the fourth, but hot shooting from Tulsa saw the Golden Hurricane take a 51-49 lead with three minutes remaining. A driving layup from Alisha Lewis pulled the Knights even and then UCF's defense went to work.
Diamond Battles put herself in the passing lane to come up with a steal. She found a streaking Sanders for the layup to put UCF in front, 53-51.
Tulsa knotted the score out of a timeout, giving the Knights the ball back with less than one minute to go. With the shot clock winding down, Sanders turned the corner, driving into the lane for the go-ahead layup.
UCF's defense then applied the pressure, not allowing Tulsa to find the equalizer in the waning seconds.  
Alisha Lewis led the Knights with 15 points, dished out five assists and had three steals. Sanders scored seven of her 11 points in the fourth quarter. Brittney Smith posted her second double-double of the season, collecting a career-best 13 rebounds to go along with 10 points. Diamond Battles dished out four assists and Masseny Kaba had a game-high two blocks.
The Knights held the advantage on the glass, out-rebounding Tulsa 36-24. UCF did not allow the Golden Hurricane to score any second chance points.
UCF returns to action on Feb. 27, hosting Temple at noon. The Owls handed the Knights their lone conference loss this season in a 61-58 decision in Philadelphia on Jan. 9.
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