Women's Hoops Earns Hard Fought Win Against Auburn

by Jenna VanHoose

ORLANDO – In a back-and-forth thrilling victory, the UCF women’s basketball team (3-0) held on to beat Auburn (3-2) and earn its third win of the season Monday night in Addition Financial Arena. The win marks the Knights' first against Auburn in program history. 

Laila Jewett led the Knights with 19 points as she went 7-11 from the field adding in three from beyond the arc. Kaitlin Peterson recorded her third consecutive double-digit game with 16 points. Jayla Kelly and Peterson tallied seven rebounds apiece. 

“That’s a team that beat us 40 points last year and now we flipped it around, it's different,” said head coach Sytia Messer. “I’d like to give my players the credit for the opportunity to come here. It’s a different team and these young ladies know me which is the main difference from last year. Our players work hard and we are going to continue to challenge them to get ready for the Big 12.”

Auburn scored the first basket of the game, but UCF answered back with an 8-0 run to propel themselves to an 8-2 lead over the Tigers. The Black and Gold continued to capitalize on Auburn’s seven turnovers to hold onto the lead through the end of the first, 14-7.  

Auburn scored a quick four points to cut into the Knights’ lead at the start of the second. The Tigers upped their offense to take the lead from the Knights with less than five minutes remaining in the second. Achol Akot knotted the score at 21 with a free throw. UCF and Auburn continued to battle for the lead, as the Knights headed to the locker room with a one-point edge over the Tigers, 27-26.
The Black and Gold came out strong in the third quarter with three triples before the media timeout. UCF held strong on its lead until Auburn used their free throws to help them go on an 8-2 run to chip away at the Knights lead, 43-40. 

The Knights started off on the wrong foot to begin the fourth quarter. Auburn tied the game at 45 after two back-to-back triples. The momentum shifted when Kelly made a layup from an Auburn turnover with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter. After Kelly’s made layup, the Knights never trailed. The Black and Gold turned in an impressive 7-7 performance from the charity stripe. Peterson pushed the ball in transition following a defensive rebound, leading to an and-one layup to give the Knights a five-point advantage with 1:35 left in the game. Jewett went to the line with the Knights up five, and she made both of her free throws to put the Knights up by seven and the game out of reach for the Tigers.

The Knights return to action in the Discover Puerto Rico Classic with three games running from Nov. 23-25. All games will be streamed on FloHoops with the first game set to tip-off at 5 p.m.