PHILADELPHIA – UCF outshot and outrebounded Temple Saturday afternoon in the Liacouras Center and connected on five more free-throw attempts than the Owls.
None of that proved enough as home-standing Temple pulled away late to post a 63-56 triumph in American Athletic Conference women's basketball action.
The Knights (10-9, 1-6 AAC) led by a pair of points after one period--and the contest was tied at halftime, again after three periods and as late as the eight-minute mark of the final period.The game was tied nine times and the lead changed hands on eight occasions.
From eight minutes left in the game Temple (9-11, 4-4 AAC)scored six straight points over the next three-plus minutes and then twice built nine-point leads in the last two minutes. After a Destiny Thomas basket tied the game at 47, UCF didn't connect from the floor again for nearly seven minutes until a Taylor Gibson hook shot at the 1:13 mark cut the Owls' advantage to 59-53.
Defense played a major role early as UCF limited Temple to three-of-18 field-goal shooting in the opening 10 minutes. Thomas' driving layup started the second period followed by a three-pointer from Laila Jewett (UCF's only triple of the afternoon) to give the Knights a seven-point advantage (17-10 at 8:32 of the second). The Owls answered with back-to-back threes and a layup to take the lead at 18-17. With two minutes left in the half, Thomas and Mya Burns recorded layups to knot it 28-28 heading into the break.
The Knights' bench played a huge role in scoring with 41 points(compared to two for Temple). Thomas led the way for UCF with 16 points and 13 rebounds, marking her ninth double-double this season. Gibson followed with 15 points, shooting seven of eight from the free-throw line. Anzhané Hutton and Gibson each contributed six rebounds.
UCF hit at a .345 clip from the field compared to .314 for Temple. The Knights finished with a 47-39 edge on the boards and knocked down 17 free throws to only 12 for the Owls.
Temple hit all of its free-throw chances (eight in the final period), while UCF missed nine opportunities from the line. The home team knocked down seven threes, as UCF went one for 10 from long distance.
Aleah Nelson led Temple with 28 points, including all 10 of her free-throw tries.
UCF will be back in action at Addition Financial Arena Feb. 1 as it plays host to SMU for the Women in Sports game.