UCF Season Ends In NCAA First Round

Box Score (PDF)

SAN ANTONIO – The UCF women's basketball team battled until the final buzzer, but came up short, 62-51, against seventh-seeded Northwestern in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday afternoon in Bill Greehey Arena.
UCF, who earned its highest seed in program history as No. 10 in the Alamo Region, finished its season with a 16-5 overall record.
The Knights scored the first six points of the day but found themselves trailing 14-12 at the end of the first frame.
Diamond Battles hit a three-pointer less than a minute into the second period to put the Black and Gold back in front, 15-14. The teams traded free throws over the next few possessions to make it a 16-16 contest before Battles found Masseny Kaba to put UCF in front.
With a two-point lead, the UCF defense came up with a stop, but Battles was injured on the play. As the junior captain was helped off the court, her teammates looked to rally. Alisha Lewis scored five unanswered points by herself to extend UCF's lead to six, 23-17. However, the Wildcats responded down the stretch to take a 30-26 lead into the locker room.
Northwestern maintained its advantage through the third quarter, entering the final 10 minutes with 43-33 edge. The Wildcats looked to pull away in the final period, pushing out to a 50-35 lead with 7:47 left to play.
But the Knights, who do not know the word quit, had other plans. A basket from Brittney Smith, followed by a three-pointer from Courtajia Sanders cut the deficit to 10 points. A defensive rebound for Ahna Burney led to a fastbreak bucket for Sanders. Smith pulled the Knights within six points, 50-44, with 4:54 left to play.
Ultimately the Black and Gold were unable to completely overcome the deficit as Northwestern converted at the free throw line for the final score of 62-51.
Masseny Kaba led the Knights with 14 points and 13 rebounds. She matched her career-high with a team-leading five assists. Brittney Smith added 10 points for UCF and had a pair of steals. Courtajia Sanders chipped in nine points, collected six rebounds and had a pair of steals.
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