Explosive Second Half Leads UCF to Victory over FAMU

GO KNIGHTS Francine Houston sank 16 points in the Golden Knights' season opener.
Francine Houston sank 16 points in the Golden Knights' season opener.

Nov. 18, 2005

ORLANDO - Junior guard Francine Houston scored a team-high 16 points as the UCF women's basketball team (1-0) opened the season with a 62-54 comeback victory over Florida A&M (0-1) in the first round of the UCF Golden Knights Classic at the UCF Arena on Friday night.

After shooting 17.2% from the field and going down 29-14 at the end of the first half, the Golden Knights bounced back early in the second period on a 16-1 run. Houston sparked the comeback by scoring five quick points before senior guard LaShay King added a bucket of her own.

A trio of successive three-pointers by King, Houston and senior guard Shayla Smith tied the score at 30 all with 16:21 remaining to play. The two squads continued to play a tight game and traded the lead until a layup by junior Keunta Miles gave the Golden Knights final control of the scoreboard. UCF finished on a 15-8 run.

FAMU opened the contest by scoring 11 unanswered points as the Rattlerettes' defense kept UCF without a basket until Smith hit a jumper at 14:35. The visitors shot 35.5% (11-for-31) from the field in the first half and outrebounded the Golden Knights by a 28-21 margin.

After hitting 19-of-29 (65.5%) in the second stanza, UCF finished the night with a 41.4% to 28.8% advantage in shooting from the field. The two teams were tied with 44 rebounds a piece.

Florida A&M's Deidra Jones led all players with 17 points, while her teammate Denise Tate pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

In addition to Houston, three other UCF players finished in double figures. Miles added 14 points to the win and King and Smith each contributed 12. Senior forward Shelby Weber had a team-high nine boards.

"I am proud of the way that our players were able to step up in the second half and comeback," said UCF head coach Gail Striegler. "We need to focus now on playing a full game with that kind of tempo. I love that type of game."

In the first contest of the afternoon, Terrie Davis scored 17 points to lead UT-San Antonio (1-0) to a 57-54 come-from-behind victory over West Virginia (0-1). Paced by Yelena Leuchanka's game-high 18 points, the Mountaineers owned 13-point advantage in the first half.

The Golden Knights take on WVU in the final day of the UCF Golden Knights Classic with tip-off set for 6 p.m.