ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Despite a career night from freshman Briahanna Jackson and a gritty second half, the UCF women's basketball team fell short in its attempt of a comeback in Thursday night's 57-55 loss to Tulane.
After shrinking a once 10-point deficit to one point with 30 seconds remaining, the Knights (7-13, 1-5) had a chance to escape with the win when the Green Wave (15-4, 4-2) converted just 1-of-6 from the free throw line.
Jackson dribbled the ball up the floor with eight seconds remaining and was forced to take a contested jumper to try to send the game into overtime, but Whitney Bibbins tipped it to cling to Tulane's lead.
Jackson led the Knights with a game-high 27 points and career-high 11 rebounds in addition to a game-high five steals for her first double-double. She tallied her fifth 20-point game of the year, one of eight players and the only freshman in Conference USA to achieve the feat.
Jackson was running on all cylinders in the first half and seemed to be everywhere the Knights needed her. Along with eight rebounds, she chipped in 10 points as UCF headed into the break facing a 26-21 deficit.
Tulane maintained a steady edge through the second half with a lead that hovered in the 6-to-8 point range until the final seven minutes remained. UCF netted six unanswered points before Bibbins chipped in a layup with two minutes remaining for a 52-49 edge.
Jackson took over with a free throw, jumper and a 3-pointer as a Tulane defender blew by her to land in the UCF bench, leaving the guard with a wide open look at the net. She buried it from behind the arc to inch the gap 56-55 with 30 seconds remaining.
Tulane's Tiffany Dale sank a free throw on the next possession, and UCF had another good look at the net as Gevenia Carter drove baseline and dished to Andrea Hines in the corner, but Hines' attempt hit rim.
The Knights outscored the Green Wave in the final 20 minutes, 34-31, but it wasn't enough to pull off the comeback. UCF heads back out on the road Sunday at 1 p.m. to square off against East Carolina.
Fans can tune into Scott Adams' free audio broadcast of the games via UCFAthletics.com and any mobile device.