ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's basketball team overcame an 18-point deficit in the final eight minutes of Wednesday's game to edge South Alabama, 55-54, at UCF Arena. The Knights (4-8) went on a 22-3 run thanks in part to freshman Briahanna Jackson's 11 points and Gevenia Carter's game-winning free throws to top the Jaguars (7-4).
Jackson paced the Knights with 17 points for her fifth-straight game in double figures. Carter posted 14 points, and Erika Jones contributed 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Knights capitalized with 27 points off the Jaguars' 25 turnovers and made their free throws when they mattered most, sinking 8-of-9 from the charity stripe in the final 2:24.
Carter put the Knights on the scoreboard first, but South Alabama responded with a 21-6 run fueled by three 3-pointers from Meghan Dunn to climb out to a 21-8 lead. After UCF forward Sara Djassi hit nothing but net from the top of the key, the Knights refocused and got back into the game thanks to their press.
As the flustered Jaguars suffered through a scoreless stretch of more than four minutes, UCF rallied from a 13-point deficit to tie the score at 21 when Jackson hit Kayli Keough with a pass on the baseline for a short jumper.
UCF reclaimed a lead for the first time since the opening basket at the 1:37 mark when Meghan Keough came up with a defensive rebound and forwarded the ball to Carter, who found Kayli cutting under the rim for an easy transition layup.
The teams went into the break locked at a 29-29 tie, and the second half played out nearly identical to the first.
After Carter chipped in a layup for the first points after halftime, South Alabama went on a 22-2 run capped by Brianna Wright's layup for a 51-33 advantage.
UCF buckled down and put together a 22-3 run thanks again to its press defense. Carter stole back the lead after she stripped the ball from Mansa El and drove the length of the court to draw a foul with 5.3 remaining.
She drained her two free throws without hesitation and the Knights refused to allow the Jaguars a clear shot at the rim to complete the comeback.
UCF hits the road for Saturday's 7 p.m. matchup at reigning Atlantic Sun Tournament champion Florida Gulf Coast for its final contest before the holiday break.
Season tickets, which start at only $30, are currently available by calling (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com.