ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - They say free throws win games, and unfortunately for the UCF women's basketball team, that adage proved true Sunday afternoon against Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles (10-7, 2-2 Conference USA) netted more than a third of their points from the free throw line in their 62-57 win over the Knights (6-11, 0-3). Meanwhile, UCF got a stab at the rim from the charity stripe just six times, sinking four of its attempts.
Sunday's loss snapped a streak of four-straight wins over the Golden Eagles at UCF Arena since March 6, 2008.
Freshman Briahanna Jackson tallied the fourth 20-point game of her career with a team-high 21 points, including a swished three from the top of the key as the final buzzer sounded. She is the only freshman in Conference USA to achieve four 20-point outings this season.
Senior Kayli Keough added 10 points for her first game in double figures since November, and junior Erika Jones grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds, marking her first game in double digits since November, as well.
UCF played the Eagles to a tight first half. The Knights made some things happen with good ball movement on the fast break. Jones cut the deficit to 18-17 when Gevenia Carter found her underneath for a bucket, but USM went on a 10-4 run before the period expired for a 28-21 advantage at the half.
The Knights started the second half off strong by generating some offensive production behind the arc. Jackson drained a 3-pointer from the left wing and Meghan Keough capitalized on a quick in-bounds play from the right baseline to shrink the deficit, 35-31.
But the Golden Eagles responded with an 11-2 run before Jackson broke through with a trey from the right corner with less than nine minutes to play.
UCF cut the deficit to 53-47 when Jones grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in with a little more than four minutes to go. But the costly fouls sent Southern Miss to the line time and again where they were able to keep the game out of reach.
Jackson gave the Knights the final say in the game when she hit two 3-pointers in the final 36 seconds, bringing her total to a season-high five.
UCF hits the road for an extended trip when the Knights travel to Tulsa on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET before heading to Memphis at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Fans can tune into Scott Adams' free audio broadcast of the games via UCFAthletics.com and any mobile device.