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By Pat Salvas
HARRISONBURG, Va., (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF women's basketball team notched its first win of the year with a 59-48 victory over Iona in a Consolation Round game of the Preseason WNIT played at James Madison's Convocation Center Friday afternoon. The Knights (1-1) will now move on to face the winner of the late game between Saint Francis (PA) and James Madison, while Iona (0-2) will play the loser.
"It's always good to get a win," head coach Joi Williams said. "It wasn't the prettiest win, but I thought our defense really came to play tonight. We held them to 28 percent shooting, so credit our defense and we did some good things on the offensive end as well."
Senior Chelsie Wiley (Riviera Beach, Fla.) led the Knights with 13 points. Fellow senior Jelisa Caldwell (Macon, Ga.) earned her fifth career double-digit scoring performance as she finished with 10 points. Caldwell also matched her career high, pulling down six rebounds in the win.
Junior Aisha Patrick (Rockledge, Fla.) led the Knights with game highs of five assists and 12 rebounds, just two off of her career high set in last season's finale against Tulane. Senior D'Nay Daniels (Atlanta, Ga.) reached double figures in rebounds for the sixth time in her career as she pulled down 10 boards, including eight on the offensive end of the floor.
Iona led for the first six minutes of play, but a Wiley jumper with 13:50 remaining in the first half gave the Knights an 8-6 lead. They would never relinquish that lead, taking an eight-point advantage into the break, 27-19.
UCF continued to control play in the second half, building its lead to as much as 14 points with less than 13 minutes to play in the game. The Gaels' Milica Paligoric connected on layups on consecutive trips down the floor to pull her team to within six points, 46-40. But, that would be as close as Iona would get as the Knights held on for the 11-point win, 59-48.
The win marks the third-straight season that the Knights have dropped their opener, only to come back and win their next game. UCF fell to Florida in the season opener last Saturday, but rebounded with Friday's neutral-court victory.
Iona's Kristina Ford had a game-high 14 points in the loss, the only player in double figures for the Gaels.
For the game, the Knights outrebounded the Gaels, 48-36. Both teams connected on 4-of-14 from beyond the arc. UCF was 21-62 (33.9%) from the floor, while the Gaels were just 16-57 (28.1%) shooting.
The Knights will play the winner of the Saint Francis (PA) and James Madison game Saturday at 7 p.m. The loser will play Iona in the earlier matchup, set for 4:30 p.m.