Knights Fall Short In The American Title Game

Box Score (PDF)

FORT WORTH – The UCF women's basketball team rallied in the second half but came up short, dropping a 64-54 decision to No. 18 South Florida in the 2021 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference championship game in Dickies Arena on Thursday evening.
"Hats off to (South Florida). They came with a lot of energy and were ready to go from the beginning," UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "If we would have come out with the energy we had in the second half, then maybe the game would have been a lot different."
UCF (16-4) fell behind 5-0 to No. 18 South Florida (18-3) in the first 90 seconds but responded with a 5-0 run over the next three minutes to knot the score. Courtajia Sanders gave the Knights their first lead, 11-10, with 2:37 left in the first quarter, but the Bulls responded to hold an 18-11 advantage at the end of the period.
South Florida opened its lead to double figures in the second quarter and took a 37-19 lead into the break.
When the Knights found themselves trailing by 24 points, 51-27, with 5:24 left in the third quarter, they could have quit.
Instead, UCF went to work.
Over the next 5:04 in the third quarter, the Knights went on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit in half, 51-39, heading into the fourth quarter.
UCF continued its scoring run into the first three and a half minutes to pull within six, 51-45.
The Knights were within striking distance but were unable to get any closer.
Diamond Battles and Masseny Kaba were named to The American All-Tournament team. Battles averaged 15.0 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 91.7 percent from the free throw line. Battles also averaged 3.3 steals per game and 2.3 assists per game over the three games. Kaba averaged 12.0 points per game and shot 57.1 from the floor. Kaba also averaged 7.3 rebounds per game.
Battles led the Knights on Thursday with 18 points, including a 6-6 performance at the free throw line. Masseny Kaba added 16 points with eight rebounds. Courtajia Sanders chipped in 11 points and had four assists. Destiny Thomas filled the stat sheet with six points, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
The Knights have a strong case for at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament and will now await to learn their postseason fate. The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship bracket will be revealed at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, March 15, on ESPN.
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