March 5, 2009
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NEW ORLEANS - Four Knights scored in double figures and Emma Cannon posted a game-best 11 rebounds as fifth-seeded UCF slipped past No. 12 seed Rice, 66-64, in game two of the 2009 Conference USA Women's Basketball Championship Thursday afternoon at Fogelman Arena.
After giving up the first basket of the game, UCF either led or sat tied for all but 1:45 during the ballgame. With 1:49 left in regulation, however, the Knights found themselves on the wrong side of a 60-59 score and facing an Owls' squad that was playing with confidence after erasing a 14-point, second-half deficit. The Knights responded by connecting on its final two shots from the field - including a three-pointer by Amber Kirkpatrick to make it a 64-60 game with 22 seconds remaining - and two of its final three free throws to hang on for the two-point victory.
With the win, UCF improves to 14-16 on the year and advances to play fourth-seeded Houston (19-9) in the quarterfinals on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Rice, meanwhile, concludes its 2008-09 season at 7-23.
The Knights led 48-34 with 12:56 left to play in the ballgame, but Rice used a 19-5 run over the next seven-plus minutes to tie things up at 53-all with 5:01 remaining on the clock. The two teams traded the next handful of baskets and UCF took just its second lead of the day with 2:26 left to play when Maudess Fulton drained a jumper to make it 58-57.
The two teams traded the next four points and UCF claimed the lead for good with 1:36 to go when Marshay White drained a jumper in the lane to make it 61-60 in favor of the Knights. Owls had a chance to send the game to overtime when Kirkpatrick missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with three seconds on the clock. Rice's inbound pass to Megan Elliott, however, was batted in the air, UCF recovered the loose ball and the Knights were able to run out the clock.
Kirkpatrick and Aisha Patrick tied for the UCF lead with 13 points each while Angelica Mealing and Marshay White followed closely in the scoring column with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Rice's Fulton led all players with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting to surpass the 1,000-point barrier for her career with 1,005. Smart added 15 points for the Owls' cause and Elliott contributed 12. Emery Carter paced Rice with 10 rebounds.