UCF Rallies To Go 2-0 at Cancun Challenge

Box Score (PDF)

RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico – The UCF women's basketball team rallied for a fourth-quarter comeback to earn a 56-47 win over USC for an undefeated Cancun Challenge performance on Saturday afternoon at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
UCF (5-1) chipped away at a nine-point USC (4-2) advantage in the fourth quarter, making its move in the final four minutes. The Knights locked down defensively in the last period, collecting five steals and holding the Trojans to just seven points in the final 10 minutes of game action.
Diamond Battles was named the Riviera Division MVP, averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per contest. Brittney Smith earned all-tournament honors, averaging 10.5 points per game while shooting 66.7 percent from the field.
The Black and Gold opened the game on a 4-1 spurt, but the Trojans responded to take a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. USC built up a nine-point advantage, 21-12, with just under two minutes left in the first half before baskets from Tay Sanders and Battles cut the Trojans lead to six, 23-17, at halftime.
Smith converted a three-point play to open the third period and pull UCF within three, 23-20, but the Trojans were able to keep the edge through the frame, holding a 40-34 lead entering the fourth quarter.
A three-pointer from Alissa Pilli put USC ahead 43-34 with 8:56 left to play, but the Black and Gold maintained their composure. Baskets from Destiny Thomas and Sanders pulled the Knights within two, 45-43, with 5:09 remaining.
The Trojans hit what turned into their final field goal of the contest to take a four-point 47-43 lead with 4:36.
A three-point play from Smith pulled UCF within a point before Alisha Lewis hit a step back jumper to give the Knights a 50-47 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
A combination of defensive rebounds from Masseny Kaba and Smith paired with free throws from Lewis and Battles down the stretch led to UCF's 56-47 victory.
Diamond Battles led UCF with 13 points, dishing out three assists with two steals. Brittney Smith added 10 points for the Knights. Destiny Thomas pulled down a career-best 12 rebounds to go along with eight points and three steals. Masseny Kaba had nine points with three assists. Tay Sanders finished with eight points, six rebounds and three steals. Alisha Lewis added eight points with three steals.
UCF returns to action on Dec. 2, hosting Arkansas in Addition Financial Arena at 6 p.m.
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