WBB: UCF Turns Late 12-point Deficit into 60-56 Win

ORLANDO, Fla. -- You can’t say the UCF women’s basketball team doesn’t have fight, heart and determination. 
Facing a 12-point deficit with 5:33 remaining in the game, the Knights (4-2) kicked it into another gear, rattling off an 18-2 run to come out on top in a 60-56 win over UNF on Tuesday evening.
“To play in a game like this and come out with a win and know that you can fight back is really encouraging for us as a coaching staff,” UCF head coach Joi Williams said. “We improved defensively tonight in some spots. We have a lot of work to do, but this win feels good even though it was a lot closer than I wanted it to be. It feels good to know we have some guys that will fight through and will work to win the game.”
UCF struggled offensively for much of the game, failing to score its first field goal until six-and-a-half minutes in. But they found a way to score when it counted most down the stretch.
Freshmen Nyala Shuler and Aliyah Gregory came up with arguably the two most crucial moments of the night. Shuler’s only field goal of the game was the go-ahead layup with 37 seconds remaining.
Clinging to a 58-56 lead, Gregory, who finished the night with 15 points, was fouled with 8 seconds left and awarded two free throws. She knocked them down without hesitation to seal the game.
Sophomore Zykira Lewis also shined among UCF’s youngsters with her sixth-straight double-figure game of the season and 15th overall dating back to 2013-14 with her game-high 21 points. Sophomore Makenzi Reasor rounded out UCF’s double-digits scorers with 10 points.
After the initial struggle in the first half, the Knights rolled on a 15-3 run thanks in large part to their performance from the free throw line, sinking 8-of-11 during the stretch.
UNF responded with a spurt of its own and regained a 20-19 lead with 3:42 to go from Kadesia Johnson’s 3-pointer from the right wing.
Lewis kicked it into gear for the Knights after a nice hustle play by Reasor to chase down an offensive rebound led to the lethal guard’s 3-pointer from the right wing. She followed that with another trey on UCF’s next possession, 25-24, but UNF’s Janea Williams snuck in two layups before the break to give her team a 28-25 halftime lead.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half, and UCF managed to cut the deficit down to one point before UNF went on a 17-6 spurt to push its edge to double-digits, 54-42, with six minutes remaining.
UCF’s defense allowed the team to get back in the game as it forced the Ospreys (3-4) to commit eight turnovers in those final six minutes. The Knights finished the night with 34 points off UNF’s 26 turnovers.

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