March 21, 2009
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UCFAthletics.com) - Facing one of the nation's premier programs, the 14th-seeded UCF women's basketball team battled for 40 minutes, but No. 3 North Carolina held on for an 85-80 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at McKenzie Arena Saturday afternoon. Sophomore Chelsie Wiley (Riviera Beach, Fla.) totaled a game-high 22 points for the Knights.
North Carolina (28-6) led by 14 points with 33 seconds to go, but Wiley scored five points as UCF (17-17) concluded the game with a 9-0 run. The Knights outscored the Tar Heels 46-41 after intermission.
UCF was making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 1999.
After trailing by 10 points at halftime, the Knights kept the game close in the second half. UCF trailed just 51-45 after a basket from sophomore D'Nay Daniels (Atlanta, Ga.) at the 15:20 mark. North Carolina then scored the game's next four points and led by at least 10 points until late in the contest.
Wiley, who played all 40 minutes, connected on 5-of-11 3-point field goal attempts. Sophomore Emma Cannon (Rochester, N.Y.), who was limited to only seven minutes in the opening half due to foul trouble, finished with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for UCF. She scored 15 of her points after halftime.
North Carolina led 8-2 to begin the game, but the Knights refused to go away. UCF mounted a 9-2 run, which Daniels capped with a layup at the 15:09 mark, that gave the Knights an 11-10 edge.
The Tar Heels grabbed the lead back less than a minute later when She'la White scored inside. North Carolina closed the first half on a 10-2 run. The Tar Heels took a 44-34 lead into halftime when Italee Lucas hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left in the period.
UCF shot 42.9 percent overall and 42.9 percent from 3-point range for the game. Eight of Cannon's rebounds were on the offensive end as the Knights totaled 20 offensive boards during the contest.
Three Knights finished with double-digits in scoring as sophomore Marshay White (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded 12 points.
In addition to Lucas, Jessica Breland and Heather Claytor also totaled 17 points for North Carolina. Claytor hit four triples in the win. The Tar Heels shot 49.2 percent from the field and also blocked 11 shots.
The Knights were playing for the first time since claiming the Conference USA Championship title on March 8 with a 65-54 overtime win over Southern Miss in New Orleans.
The Tar Heels will now face the winner of the No. 6 Purdue/No. 11 Charlotte game in the second round on Monday evening.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.