Knights Bounce Back Against Morgan State, 67-41

by Meghan Kalenborn

ORLANDO-  UCF women’s basketball wrapped up its non-conference schedule on Tuesday afternoon victoriously, emphatically defeating the Morgan State Bears 67-41 at Addition Financial Arena. Ending the non-conference schedule with a 9-1 record, the Knights have only lost a combined three non-conference games at home since the beginning of the 2018 season. 

Coming off of an 18-point effort in the game against Florida Atlantic, UCF’s leading scorer, Kaitlin Peterson continued right where she left off by scoring 20 points including five three pointers which was a team high on the afternoon. Laila Jewett was a catalyst for the team, with an astounding six assists, to go along with eight points. Jewett leads the team with 38 assists, averaging 3.6 assists per game. Taylor Gibson and Khyala Ngodu were standouts on the Knights’ effective bench, combining for 16 of 24 points scored. 

Morgan State started off the matchup with the first basket of the game, a jumper in the paint. Then it was all Knights, as the team went on an 11-0 scoring run, including two consecutive three-pointers made by Peterson. Following a media timeout, a shift in momentum favored the Bears as eight straight points cut UCF’s lead to one, with less than a minute to play in the first quarter. The Black and Gold tacked on a basket with 22 seconds to go, to finish the first leading by three, 13-10.

As the second quarter began, Morgan State kept the game close bringing the score to within one again, 15-14, following an exchange of layups by either team. A shooting foul on the Bears led to the Knights’ first free throws of the game, with Jayla Kelly hitting both of them, taking another three point lead with a little under eight minutes to play in the half. Moments later, Morgan State tied the game for the first time with a three-pointer, 17-17. UCF answered by scoring 13 of the next 15 points, including making all four free throws awarded, taking an 11 point lead into the second half, 30-11. 

Twelve of the Knights’ 30 points in the first half came from the bench, with six of them being from Gibson. 

The Black and Gold continued to dominate on the court to start off the second half by extending the double-digit lead to 15 following a Mya Burns basket. Morgan State started to chip off at the UCF lead, scoring eight straight points, following a Peterson three-pointer. The Bears’ 8-0 run brought them within single-digits once again. The Knights went on to score the last six points of the third quarter to bring their lead back up to double digits, 47-33. 

Fourth quarter was all Black and Gold as the team continued to add on to their double-digit lead by scoring 16 of 18 points to mass a 25 point lead on Morgan State with less than two minutes to play in the game. Of  UCF’s 16 points, six consecutive came from Peterson including her fifth three-pointer on the day. The Knights finished the quarter on a 14-3 run to win by a score of 67-41. 

Defensively, the Black and Gold held Morgan State to just 28 percent (16-57) from the field. While offensively, they amassed a 54.8 shooting percentage (23-42) from the field and 53.8 percent (7-13) from three point range and shot 87.5 percent (14-16) at the line. 

The Knights will kick off their inaugural Big 12 schedule by heading on the road to face the Oklahoma Sooners at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. on December 30 at 2 p.m.