Jan. 1, 2014
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UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jenna Marina
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Facing the nation's No. 1 team and defending national champion UConn, the UCF women's basketball team battled, pushed and dug in for a full 40 minutes Wednesday.
Unfortunately, the Knights did not have enough firepower to upset the Huskies in their 77-49 loss to the defending national champion. A school-record crowd of 3,492 was on hand to witness the first meeting between the two programs in the first American Athletic Conference game held at CFE Arena.
UConn (14-0, 2-0 The American) entered the game leading the country in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 37.4 points per game. It was evident from tipoff until the final horn sounded that the Knights (8-5, 1-1 The American) refused to be lumped in that statistic.
"We talked about competing in preparation (for the game). We have talked about that all season. With a team like UConn, that comes first. If we want to do well in conference, we need to compete on every possession," UCF head coach Joi Williams said. "I told them that if we did that, we could put ourselves in position to win any game. I think that they believe that. I was very impressed with a couple of runs that they made, we didn't roll over. We fought back and gathered ourselves. Our team can learn a lot from this experience and hopefully feel good about how well we competed."
Sophomore Briahanna Jackson recorded her seventh-straight game of double figures with a game-high 28 points. She drained a career-best 6-of-10 from behind the arc to fuel her second straight 20-point outing.
Freshman Zykira Lewis hit double digits with 10 points for the first time in nearly four weeks after beginning the year with a team-best, eight-straight 10-plus-point performances. Senior Erika Jones also contributed with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Jackson netted 8 points (3-of-3)in the first five minutes to give UCF a 10-7 lead over the Huskies. From there, UConn went on an 18-4 run before UCF guard Andrea Hines drilled a long jumper from the right wing.
All-American and preseason Naismith Trophy selection Stefanie Dolson sank 6-of-6 from the field before missing her first shot of the game, and backed by her big first half, UConn rode into the break holding a 46-22 lead.
UCF played a much closer second half, 31-27, but did not have an answer for the Huskies play in the paint, where they scored 48 of their total 77 points.
"We didn't want them to come in and walk all over us. We wanted to show them that we can compete," Jackson said. "We are not going to roll over for anybody. We competed and played hard until the end. I am proud of my team for not giving up."
The Knights travel to Philadelphia to face Temple at 2 p.m. Saturday on the American Digital Network. Season tickets, mini-plans and group packages are still available by calling (407) UCF-1000 or visiting UCFKnights.com.