UCF Falls Short Against No. 12/15 Tennessee

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO – A slow start proved to be too much to overcome for the UCF women's basketball team, dropping a 49-41 decision to No. 12/15 Tennessee on Friday evening in Addition Financial Arena.
UCF (1-1) scored the first basket of the contest, but Tennessee (2-0) scored the next seven to take the lead. The Lady Vols led by as many as six, 10-4, before a 5-0 spurt in the final 90 seconds of the opening frame cut the lead to one, 10-9, at the end of the first quarter.
Shania Meertens pulled UCF even with a free throw in the second period, but Tennessee responded to pull back in front and took a 26-14 advantage into the locker rooms.
The visitors opened the second half with a basket to extend their lead to 14 points, 28-14, and looked to be pulling away, but UCF turned up its intensity. Tay Sanders drove to the basket for two points, grabbed a steal for another layup and four quick points. Destiny Thomas cut the deficit to single digits, 31-22, before the Lady Vols pushed back to out a 12-point edge.
With 1:11 remaining in the frame, the point guards went to work. A three-pointer and a pair of free throws from Diamond Battles, followed by a trey from Alisha Lewis pulled UCF within four points, 34-30, entering the final 10 minutes.
The Knights were unable to close the gap in the final period as the Lady Vols avoided the upset in the first meeting between the programs.
Diamond Battles scored a career-high 21 points, going a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. She also dished out a pair of assists. Battles, Masseny Kaba and Destiny Thomas each collected a trio of steals. Thomas matched her career best with 11 rebounds.
UCF returns to action on Nov. 17, making the first road trip of the season to face Virginia.
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