TULSA, Okla. (UCFAthletics.com) - All it takes is one glance at Wednesday's box score to see that the UCF women's basketball team came ready to play in its opening-round 74-59 win over Houston.
For the third time this season, senior Gevenia Carter (25 points) and freshman Briahanna Jackson (22 points) both netted 20-point outings in the same game. Junior Erika Jones notched a double-double (17 points, 17 rebounds), sophomore floor general Andrea Hines dished a season-high six assists and the team matched a season-high 30 field goals to roll into Thursday's quarterfinals.
The eighth-seeded Knights will now face No. 1 seed and regular season champion SMU at noon ET.
Playing in the first game of the day, both teams came out energized, battling through 11 tied scores and seven lead changes, and still remained gridlocked at 38-38 at the break. Carter led the charge with 17 points - thanks in part to three 3-pointers - as the Knights put up their most points in the first half in two years.
Jones' bucket to start the second half marked her third double-double of the last four games and jumpstarted an 8-0 run for the Knights.
Notably, Houston's leading scorer Porsche Landry picked up her fourth foul not even three minutes into the second half. It proved to be a blow for the Cougars, who converted just 7-of-30 shots after the break (.233).
Landry cut the Knights' double-digit advantage to nine, 65-56, with a 3-pointer with 3:29 remaining and Houston called a time out, but Jackson refused to let her team's momentum sway by beating the shot clock with a 3-pointer.
The Cougars attempted to get back in the game by sending UCF to the free throw line, but the Knights sealed the victory with a 6-of-7 showing from the stripe.
C-USA Digital Network will exclusively stream the first two rounds. Current subscribers to the C-USA Digital Network can click on the watch links and enter password information to view the games. New and school-only subscribers must visit www.conferenceusa.com/allaccess/.
As always, fans can tune into Scott Adams' free audio broadcast, which is also available on mobile devices. Live stats are also available via UCFAthletics.com.
The semifinals and championship game will be played at the Bok Center in downtown Tulsa and televised by CBS Sports Network. The winner of the championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UCF is now 3-4 in the first round of the C-USA Tournament and holds a 2-1 record in the quarterfinals.
The last time UCF met SMU in the conference tournament was the 2009 semifinals. The Knights came out with a 62-51 win and went on to win the championship against Southern Miss.
After her three steals today, C-USA Freshman of the Year Briahanna Jackson is two shy of matching the UCF single-season steals record (103) set in 1987-88. Having already broken the conference freshman single-season steals record, she is now tied for seventh on the overall top-10 list with 101.
The Knights' 38 first-half points marked the most scored in a half by a UCF squad since March 11, 2011 (45 vs. Memphis).
Erika Jones' double-double against Houston was her fifth of the season and the third in the last four games. She currently boast a streak of five-straight games in double-figure rebounding.
Gevenia Carter logged her seventh 20-point game of the season and her second in a row. She now needs 11 points to breach UCF's all-time top-10 scoring leaders list.