Knights Top St. Johns, 61-48

by Jenna VanHoose

SAN JUAN, P.R. – UCF women’s basketball topped St. John’s on Friday night with a 61-48 victory in the Knights’ second game of the Discover Puerto Rico Classic.

The Knights had a burst of scoring towards the end of the first and never looked back to seal the victory. The Black and Gold were led by Kaitlin Peterson and Mya Burns who each turned in a 12-point performance. Burns shot 5-of-8 from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line. Achol Akot, just short of a double-double, recorded nine points and 13 rebounds. Laila Jewett dished out six assists and chipped in with eight points.

UCF (5-0) outrebounded (34-26) and outshot (53-44) St. John’s (2-4) as both teams accounted for 14 turnovers each. As a team, the Knights recorded 12 assists and four steals.

The Knights came out ready to go as they won the jump ball for the first time this season and started with an early 4-0 lead in the first quarter, as Jayla Kelly made a free throw followed by Akot earning an and-one. UCF and St. John’s battled back and forth to knot the game at six. A jumper from Peterson sparked a 10-0 run and gave the Knights a 16-7 lead. The Black and Gold shot 57 percent from the field in the first quarter.

St. John’s answered back in the second quarter with a three in the first three seconds, but Peterson answered on the opposite end of the court, marking the first 3-pointer of the game for the Knights. UCF held onto the lead as the squad headed into the locker room with a five-point edge, 30-25.

Kelly and Jewett drained back-to-back jumpers to begin the second half. Burns went 2-2 from the charity stripe to ignite a 5-2 run to end the third, 46-35.

UCF continued to hold onto the lead gaining as much as a 15-point lead with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter when Burns made a jumper outside the paint, 59-44. The Knights held onto the lead throughout the remainder of the game to earn their fifth consecutive win of the season.

UCF will finish off the Discover Puerto Rico Classic on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET against Sacred Heart.