Nov. 12, 2011
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By Jenna Marina
MOBILE, Ala. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's basketball team dropped a hard-fought triple overtime decision to South Alabama, 89-76, on Saturday night.
Sophomore forward Erika Jones set a school record and a Mitchell Center record with a career-high 24 rebounds. She topped her career high in the first half with 11 boards and became the first Knight since Emma Cannon on Jan. 15, 2010, to reach the mark in a game.
Senior Aisha Patrick led three Knights in double figures with 17 points while adding eight rebounds.
Junior guard Gevenia Carter added 14 points, six rebounds and three steals in regulation. Freshman Meghan Keough, who started in her first career appearance, scored 11 points.
Camille Reynolds scored 12 of her game-high 31 points in the extra periods to help the Jaguars, who outscored UCF 16-3 in the final overtime, escape with the win.
"I think we let a few plays bring down our energy and they were able to thrive off that," senior Ashia Kelly said. "I know we have the team that can pull out the win. We just need to have confidence in ourselves and trust the things that we do well. In that last period, we weren't executing. We allowed South Alabama to change our style of play and they were able to make plays."
UCF came out aggressively in the first half, holding the Jaguars without a field goal for more than five minutes. The Knights capitalized off the dry spell as redshirt junior forward Kayli Keough's jumper off an assist from Meghan sparked the Knights on a 13-2 run to take a 17-7 lead.
The Knights distributed points across the board from eight different players in the first half, which included 10 points from Carter.
The Jags hung around in the second half with a 10-of-14 performance from the free throw line and a pair of timely threes from Reynolds. Reynolds' second three of the half from the left wing with 43.5 to go brought the Jags within a possession, and Mansa El chipped in a bucket down low to tie the game at 55 where the game rested at the end of regulation.
Reynolds sank a jumper to give South Alabama a 3-point advantage with two minutes remaining in the first overtime before Patrick took over for the Knights and hit a jumper of her own with 53 seconds left. She drew a foul 30 seconds later and converted one of two free throws to tie the game.
UCF came up with a stop on the Jaguars' next possession and Patrick pushed it up the floor, finding Aarika Judge on the left wing, where she banked it in from behind the arc, but the buzzer sounded before the shot went in, forcing a second overtime.
In the second extra period, UCF put up six unanswered points off a layup from Patrick, two free throws from Meghan and a layup by Kelly, but the Jaguars chipped away at the lead by attacking the paint. Meghan converted a free throw with nine seconds remaining for a 3-point lead but South Alabama's Veronica Cherizol drained a fadeaway trey with .7 seconds left on the clock to send it to triple overtime.
South Alabama shot out to a quick 5-point lead in the final overtime and the Knights were never able to find a rhythm to battle back for the win.
The Knights return to Orlando for their home opener on Friday at 5 p.m. against Florida A&M with the UCF men to follow at 7 p.m. against High Point. Fans are encouraged to attend the game as the 2010-11 Conference USA Championship banner will be unveiled prior to tipoff.