Nov. 21, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jenna Marina
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (UCFAthletics.com) - Freshman Briahanna Jackson carried the UCF women's basketball team back from a 22-point deficit with her monster second-half performance to help the Knights nearly upend Missouri State, 83-75, Wednesday.
Jackson scored 24 in 19 minutes en route to a 34-point outing to lead UCF's rally in outscoring the Bears, 53-44, in the second half. But the Knights' cold start came back to plague them in the loss.
"I thought BJ brought energy from the start, and we fed off that in the second half," UCF head coach Joi Williams said. "I'm really proud of how much heart she played with tonight. Hopefully in these games to come, everyone will follow her lead."
The Knights (1-5) were hindered by a slow-going first half, hitting just 15.8 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, the Bears (2-2) funneled their offense through their frontcourt, scoring all but seven of their 39 first-half points in the paint.
Jackson got UCF on the scoreboard early with a layup and three-pointer to give the Knights a 5-2 lead before Missouri State took over on a 12-0 run.
Forward Erika Jones swished a baseline jumper from the left side to snap the six-minute dry spell, 14-7, but the Knights had no answer for Missouri State's Christiana Shorter. Shorter fueled the Bears with a 9-of-12 showing in the first half for 18 points.
Sara Djassi was primed to close out the half with a layup when she drove baseline with eight seconds remaining, but she was cited for an offensive foul. The Bears had enough time to get down the floor and Hannah Wilkerson snuck in a layup as time expired to give Missouri State a 39-22 edge.
The Bears hovered with a 20-point lead until 13 minutes remained when Jackson's backdoor layup started a run of seven-straight points by the rookie. Stephanie Taylor banked a jumper to bring the Knights within 56-41, but Missouri State's Kenzie Williams drained a trey from the left wing for some extra cushion.
The Knights furiously continued its comeback, including a 12-2 run that brought the game within seven points, but Missouri State always managed to sink a timely layup or get to the free throw line to squeak out the win.
"Being down 20 points, we made a decision to play a lot better defense, play more aggressive and we got ourselves back in it," Williams said. "It was just too little, too late."
UCF will meet Mississippi State (2-3) in its final matchup of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope at 2 p.m. ET Thursday.
Season tickets, which start at only $30, are currently available by calling (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com.