Knights Come Up Short Against Florida Atlantic

by Ericka Brockish

ORLANDO – The UCF women’s basketball team got off to a slow start again against Florida Atlantic Monday afternoon in Addition Financial Arena. The Knights fall in a thriller to the Owls 59-58 for their first loss of the season.

Kaitlin Peterson led the team yet again in points with 18, going 1-4 from beyond the arc, and 3-6 from the line. The Knights shot 10-16 from the line, three and a half points below their season average of 13.5. The Knights shot 13.3% from beyond the arc, well below the season average of 37.2%.

 The Knights got into trouble defensively again allowing the Owls, falling behind early only capturing the lead once in the first quarter. The Black and Gold trailed by as much as seven in the first half and went into halftime down by two marking only the second time this season trailing at half.

Florida Atlantic has averaged 5.6 three pointers on the season. The Knights allowed the Owls to exceed that average in the second quarter going into halftime shooting 70% from beyond the arc. The Owls would finish the game 10-20 from beyond the arc, doubling their season average.

Coming out of half, the Knights took the early lead behind a Laila Jewett three pointer. Following a Florida Atlantic three pointer, UCF tied it up at 31 with 8:54 left in the third quarter and would not relinquish the lead until 5:07 left in the fourth quarter. The final five minutes of the game saw five ties and three lead changes. 

Both teams traded baskets in the final five minutes, neither one able to get a stop. Up by two the Knights had a chance to make it a two-possession game on a steal by Peterson. After a timeout by UCF to call a play, the Knights were unable to get a shot off until the buzzer. Peterson through the ball up on a prayer but couldn’t catch the rim, resulting in a shot clock violation. This allowed the Owls to get set in their offense and get the ball to their second leading scorer Janeta Rozentale for layup to tie the game with eight seconds left.

The Knights had a chance for a last second shot, but an errant inbounds pass by Mya Burns turned into a turnover and gave the Owls the last shot. After a missed three pointer, Jada Moore ended up with the ball under the basket and threw a shot up at the buzzer. While Knights were set to go into overtime, the Owls were seen cheering because a late foul had been called on freshman Achol Akot, her fifth. After a review to see if the foul occurred before the buzzer, the call was confirmed, leaving 0.4 seconds on the clock.

UCF had hope after Moore missed the first shot from the line, but she sunk the second, forcing a timeout from the Knights coaching staff. With the ball out on the side, Burns tried to lob the pass over Rozentale’s head to Jayla Kelly, but Rozentale had Kelly boxed out and all she had to do was tip the ball to allow time to run out the clock on the Knights undefeated season.

 The Knights will have a quick turnaround as they return for Addition Financial Arena for a matchup against Morgan State at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday to wrap up non-conference play this season.