UCF's Historic Season Comes To An End in NCAA Second Round

Box Score (PDF)

STORRS, Conn. – A historic UCF women's basketball season came to a close on Monday evening as the Knights dropped a 52-47 decision to No. 5 UConn in the second round of NCAA Tournament in Gampel Pavilion.

"Our team is amazing.," UCF head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "We accomplished so many goals. We set out at the beginning of the year to win a lot of our preseason games. We really scheduled high-level teams and we accomplished a lot of those goals that we set out in our preseason. These young women are special. They are special. What we did for this season and what these young women did every single day, I can't even tell you -- I don't even know how basketball coaches, if you're not a basketball coach you don't understand how hard that was to accomplish what we did for this season."
UCF finished its season with a 26-4 overall record, matching the program record for most wins in a season while also setting the record for the fewest losses.
UConn (27-5) and the Knights traded baskets early before a 7-0 run from the Black and Gold put the visitors up 11-4 in the first quarter. UCF led by as many as eight, 17-9, in the opening period and took an 18-12 lead into the second period.
The Huskies opened the second quarter sinking seven free throws in a 7-2 scoring spurt to pull within one, 20-19, heading into the media timeout. After a three-pointer put UConn in front, Diamond Battles responded with a clutch three of her own to put the Knights back on top, 23-22. UConn scored four unanswered to take a 26-23 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair until the Huskies closed out on a 9-0 run to take a 38-30 lead into the final period. UConn pushed its lead to as many as 12, 48-36, with 4:52 remaining, and looked to be pulling away.
But, as they've done all season, the Knights showed fight.
A jumper from Brittney Smith was followed by a three-pointer from Tay Sanders in a 5-0 spurt. Masseny Kaba came up with a clutch block on the defensive end and then found Smith for a jumper to pull UCF within five, 48-43, with 3:04 remaining. Neither team was able to add to the score until Diamond Battles sank a pair of free throws with 53 seconds left to make it a three-point contest, 48-45, but that was as close as UCF was able to get.
The Knights were led by Diamond Battles, who finished with 12 points. Brittney Smith added 11 points with five rebounds. Tay Sanders chipped in 10 points.  Destiny Thomas pulled down seven rebounds and had two blocks while Alisha Lewis dished out four assists.