March 7, 2013
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Jenna Marina
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's basketball team couldn't hold on to its slim lead in the final minute of play at UAB on Thursday night and dropped a 55-54 thriller in the regular season finale.
The Knights needed a victory to have a shot at a first-round bye at next week's Conference USA Tournament. They now finish the year with a 13-17 record, including a 7-9 mark in conference play, and wait to find out if they have secured the No. 7 or No. 8 seed depending on Friday's UTEP-Tulane outcome.
UCF was in the fight until the end as Gevenia Carter swished a 3-pointer that gave UCF a 53-51 edge with 39 seconds to play. UAB responded with a layup from Chelsee Black to tie the score. The Knights drove the length of the floor and freshman Briahanna Jackson drew a foul with 12 seconds to play.
She swished the first but missed the second, and UAB managed to find Karisma Chapman under its rim, where she was fouled by Jackson. Chapman converted both with 7.3 to play, 55-54, and Jackson again drove the length of the floor but this time was cited for an offensive foul with 1.7 remaining, allowing the Blazers to escape with a win and the No. 4 seed for the tournament.
Carter led her team with a game-high 23 points for her sixth 20-point outing of the year. She was joined in double digits by Sara Djassi's 12 points and Jackson's 10 points. Junior forward Erika Jones brought down 18 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards.
UCF hopped out to an 11-3 edge but the Blazers surged on a 19-3 run over the next nine minutes to give themselves their largest lead of the first half, 22-14.
Carter snapped the Knights out of their funk when she pump faked, took one dribble to the left and drained a 3-pointer.
The Knights climbed back within 25-24 at the half thanks in part to Djassi's and-one hustle play with 15.5 seconds before the break.
UCF refused to back off in the second half and tied the score at 33 with 11 minutes remaining after Jackson intercepted a pass at half court and hit Carter with a behind-the-back pass for an easy layup.
The Knights came up with two more steals on the Blazers' next possessions that turned into layups from Carter. Although UAB managed to tie the score at 37, Djassi proved to be a game-changer for the Knights with another and-one play, which she followed with a steal and a layup to extend UCF's lead back out to 42-37.
Chapman kept UAB in the game with timely shots and made the most of her opportunities at the free throw line to seal the win.
The C-USA Tournament will be held from March 13-16 in Tulsa, Okla. The official bracket will be released Saturday night at the conclusion of men's games around the league.