March 10, 2005
DOTHAN, Ala. -
Ali Roberts netted 1,000 career points as the UCF women's basketball team defeated the Mercer Bears, 65-59, in game one of the 2005 Coca-Cola Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Championship. The Golden Knights (19-9) advance to the semifinal round of the tournament, while the Bears end their season with a 12-16 mark.
Roberts led the team in points (20), rebounds (9) and steals (5). Francine Houston and Shayla Smith were second on the team in points with 11 each. Shelby Weber was behind Roberts in the rebounds department with eight. Lashaunda Slade paced the Knights with seven assists, while Weber had three steals.
The first half started off with Houston hitting a three for UCF only to have Jessica Miller answer with a three of her own for Mercer. Smith put the Knights back up by three after being fouled while making a layup.
Two minutes later, Karen Hickman hit a three for the second tie of the game. Smith put the Black and Gold back up by three 30 seconds later by hitting a three. Sarah Russell brought the Bears to within one after netting a jumper.
UCF then went on a 12-0 run over the next eight minutes with Claudia Johnson leading the way with six points. The Knights were up 21-8 with 5:11 to play in the half.
Mercer tried to make a comeback after Rhonda Owens netted two free throws followed by a three-pointer by Hickman. Slade then hit a free throw to put the Knights up by nine.
Tanya Kessenich hit a free throw for Mercer followed by a jumper by Roberts. The teams then went back to Mercer's end of the court only to have Hickman miss a three-pointer, rebounded by LaShay King
. King passed the ball off to Roberts who netted a jumper for her 1,000 career point as a Knight.
Owens was fouled at the Bears' end of the court, making both free throws with 1:10 to go. Russell followed that up with a jumper for Mercer making the halftime score UCF 26, Mercer 18.
Smith and Johnson were leading the Knights with six points each followed by Roberts who had five. Weber paced the Black and Gold in rebounds with five, while Slade had three assists. Weber also had two blocks for UCF.
The second half started with a three-pointer by Hickman for Mercer to bring the Bears to within five of the Knights. Rosana Davis then hit two free throws to make it 26-23, in favor of UCF.
Houston netted a jumper for the first UCF points in the second half only to have Davis answer with a jumper of her own for Mercer. Smith hit a three-pointer with 16:13 to play in regulation giving the Knights a 31-25 lead.
Kessenich then scored two for Mercer followed by two free throws by Weber for UCF. Russell made a jumper followed by a three-pointer by Miller to bring the Bears to within one of UCF.
With 14:26 to play, Slade tipped one in for the Knights giving them a three-point lead over the Bears. Miller answered with a jumper for the Bears. Takira Allen then hit a free throw putting the Knights up by two only to have Erin Keller hit a three for Mercer giving them a one-point lead with 12:51 to play.
Miller gave Mercer a two point lead after netting a free throw to make the score 38-36. Roberts hit a jumper and a free throw for the Knights tying the score up again with 9:54 to go. Roberts hit another free throw less than 10 seconds later giving the Black and Gold a one point lead.
Miller responded with a layup and a free throw of her own to put Mercer back in the lead. Roberts was fouled again, making both free throws, tying the score at 41 apiece. With 6:18 to play in regulation, Roberts hit another layup to put the Knights up by two.
Keller tied the score up again after hitting two free throws for the Bears followed by a layup by Davis giving Mercer a two-point lead. Roberts responded with a layup of her own, tying the score with 4:29 to go.
Miller then netted a jumper for the Bears putting them up by one only to have Houston hit a three-pointer giving the Knights a one-point lead. Roberts was fouled again by Mercer, making both free throws for the Knights.
Kessenich was fouled for Mercer, hitting both shots, giving UCF a one-point lead. Allen hit a jumper with 1:16 to play, extending the Golden Knights' lead. With five seconds to go in regulation, Hickman hit another three to tie the score up. At the end of regulation, the score with 52 all.
Overtime started with Kessenich hitting a jumper for Mercer followed by a jumper from Roberts for UCF. The Bears then scored four points before Weber tipped one in for the Knights. Smith was then fouled by Mercer, netting both of the free throws to tie the score at 58.
With 48 seconds to go, UCF fouled Miller sending her to the free throw line where she made one of the shots. Houston then gave the Golden Knights the lead for good after hitting a three-pointer with 32 seconds to go.
Mercer fouled Roberts again sending her to the line again where she hit both shots with five seconds to go. The Bears then fouled Slade with under one second to go sending her to the line for the Knights, hitting both shots giving UCF the win, 65-59.
The Black and Gold will play in the semifinals of the 2005 Coca-Cola Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Championship tomorrow at 7 p.m. The will take on the winner of the Stetson/Belmont game. All games will be aired live over the internet at www.ucfathletics.com.