ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Despite inspired play from its senior class and a six-point halftime lead, the UCF women's basketball team could not hold on to its momentum and ultimately lost its fourth-straight game on Thursday. The Knights (12-16, 7-9 C-USA) split the regular season with Marshall (16-13, 7-9 C-USA) in a 69-60 decision on Senior Night.
Senior guard Aisha Patrick paced the team with her ninth double-double of the year with game highs in points (19) and rebounds (12). Redshirt junior Kayli Keough added 12 points and freshman Andrea Hines scored 11.
With Thursday's results around the league, UCF secured a No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 Southern Miss, whom the Knights swept during the regular season, in the first round. The winner will face No. 1 seed UTEP in the quarterfinals. Both games will be played at Elma Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis. The tournament bracket will be released March 3 complete with game times.
Patrick came out ready to play, sinking her first four shots to open the game. She helped UCF to a 10-point lead when she grabbed a defensive board and went coast-to-coast for a fastbreak layup to make it 26-16 with less than eight minutes to go in the half.
The Knights led by as much as 11 when Patrick found Gevenia Carter for a jumper with five minutes to go, but the Herd would close out the half on a 7-2 run to cut it to 36-30.
UCF looked primed for another strong start at the open of the second half when Keough stole the ball at the top of the key and finished with a layup for a 38-30 edge on the first possession. But Marshall responded with a 13-2 run to claim its first lead since 3-2 at the beginning of the game.
Senior Ashia Kellydrained a 3-pointer from the right baseline corner to take back a slight edge, 45-43, with 11:48 remaining, but Shay Weaver retaliated with one of her five threes on the night seconds later, and the Knights could never find a way back on top.
Thursday's game marked the last game at home for the senior class of Patrick, Kelly and Racine Davis. The two-time C-USA champions finished their career with a 37-22 record, which includes a 24-8 mark during conference play, in UCF Arena.
Up next, the Knights will head to Memphis for the Conference USA Tournament, where they have emerged as champions twice out of the last three years.