Knights Hold Off Houston

Coach ABE Press Conference Tay Sanders Press Conference Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO – The UCF women's basketball team held off a fourth-quarter Houston rally to defeat the Cougars 62-59 in Addition Financial Arena on Tuesday evening, giving the Knights sole possession of the top spot in the American Athletic Conference with a 3-0 record.
Houston (9-6, 2-1 The American) came out firing in the fourth quarter, pouring in 31 points in the final period. The Cougars took a three-point lead over UCF (11-2, 3-0 The American) with 2:51 left to play but a clutch and-one layup from Tay Sanders tied things back up. Houston would go back up by one after a pair of free throws, but Masseny Kaba would knock down two of her own to flip the score once again, 60-59, with 49 seconds remaining.
After a key defensive stop, Diamond Battles was sent to charity stripe, sinking both free throws to clinch the victory.
The Knights held a 14-12 advantage after the first quarter but locked down defensively in the second period, limiting Houston to just five points, to take a 29-17 lead into halftime. The Black and Gold held a 43-28 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
Tay Sanders scored a career-high 23 points, shooting 53.3 percent from the field, to lead the UCF offense. Brittney Smith added 16 off the bench. Destiny Thomas nearly tallied a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Alisha Lewis tied the UCF and American Athletic Conference single game records with a career-best 10 steals. She is the first Knight with 10 steals in a game since Anita Terlecky (vs. Florida A&M, Feb. 22, 1988).
The UCF defense came through once again, forcing Houston into 24 turnovers which led to 25 points for the Knights. The Black and Gold also scored 30 points in the paint and used 12 offensive rebounds to score 15 second chance points.
UCF continues its homestand on Sunday, hosting No. 24 South Florida for the first installment of the War on I-4. The teams tip at 3 p.m. in Addition Financial Arena.
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