Nov. 22, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jenna Marina
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's basketball team made program history Thursday afternoon with its first win over a Southeastern Conference school. The Knights topped Mississippi State, 64-56, in their final matchup of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope to snap a 0-44 streak against SEC programs.
"It's huge for us to beat a team in a big-six conference, especially a team like Mississippi State, who is talented and has some good athletes," UCF head coach Joi Williams said. "It's a stepping stone. Hopefully it is the first of many more wins, and I think it's a good confidence booster for our team, knowing we can compete at that level."
Playing through illness, Gevenia Carter led the Knights with 17 points while Kayli Keough added 13 points and Erika Jones grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
UCF led from the get go as Keough sank a jumper from the elbow to jumpstart an 11-2 run. UCF (2-5) held Mississippi State (2-4) scoreless in nine of its first 10 possessions, forcing eight turnovers.
The Bulldogs came roaring back thanks to their post players to shrink the deficit, 11-9, but the Keough sisters took over with UCF's next seven points to extend the lead, 18-15, with less than eight minutes to play.
Mississippi State continued to threaten to overtake the Knights, but UCF always stepped up with a timely play to maintain its edge. Andrea Hines swished a trey from the baseline, Carter converted a jumper and Meghan Keough closed out the half with a three-pointer from the wing to give UCF a halftime lead, 30-23, for the first time this week.
"We did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball in the first half, and we played defense and rebounded. If we do that, we'll put ourselves in a position to win games," Williams said. "Hopefully our team is starting to buy into that and see that defense and rebounding is what is going to make us successful."
UCF continued to power through the second half as the Knights opened on a 11-3 run capped by Carter's three-pointer with 15:14 to play.
In a foul-heavy second half, most of Mississippi State's offensive production was generated at the free throw line in a 13-of-16 showing.
The Knights held a double-digit lead until the Bulldogs strung together an 11-3 run to close the gap to five, 59-54, when Kendra Grant connected on a three-pointer. But the Bulldogs would get no closer as UCF finished the game at the free throw line.
UCF returns to the States for back-to-back home games beginning Wednesday against Charlotte at 7 p.m.
Season tickets, which start at only $30, are currently available by calling (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com.