Feb. 22, 2003
BOCA RATON, FL - In a battle between the top two teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the University of Central Florida came out with a 78-77 victory at Florida Atlantic University, Saturday night, in Boca Raton, FL. Erin Paige's jumper with 8.3 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
The loss drops FAU to 11-12 overall and 9-3 in the A-Sun South. UCF improves to 14-9 and 10-2 in the conference.
In a game that neither team lead by more than eight points, two players finished with 22 points. FAU's Tamica Pierce had 18 of her 22 in the second half while UCF's Jessica Scala also poured in 22. Scala, along with teammate Celeste Hudson, knocked down six three-pointers on the night.
UCF took a 35-28 lead with1:54 left in the first half before FAU closed the half on a 7-3 run to trail 38-35 at the half.
The Lady Owls stormed out in the second half with a 19-8 run and led 54-46 with 14:41 to play. The burst included 12 points from Pierce, including a three-pointer from the senior.
The Golden Knights would bounce back with a 17-6 run and led 63-60 with 7:27 to go. The run included three treys from Hudson, who finished with 20 points. FAU tied the game with 6:10 left on a lay-u by Pierce. From that point, neither team would lead by more than two points.
Trailing by two, Julie Goad hit a three-pointer to put FAU up 71-70 with 3:31 to play. Hudson responded on UCF's next possession with a trey to give UCF the two-point lead back. Four straight points by Trineca McCleod gave FAU a 75-73 lead with 1:43 to play.
Hudson came back to hit yet another three-pointer with 1:28 left to put UCF up 76-75. Two free throws by Goad at the 1:18 mark put FAU in front 77-76.
Neither team would score on their next possessions before Allen hit a 10-footer along the right baseline with 8.3 seconds left to give UCF a 78-77 lead. A drive by Pierce at the other end resulted in a missed shot with three seconds left. FAU had one more chance after a missed free throw by Takira Allen, but McCleod missed a turnaround from the foul line as time expired.
"It never comes down to just the final shot," said FAU head coach Chancellor Dugan. "It comes down to getting stops which I thought we did pretty well at doing. I was pleased with my team's effort tonight. It's tough when you are without two starters."
FAU shot 44 percent on the night in 22-for-50 shooting. UCF went 30-for-66 for 46 percent. UCF outrebounded FAU 39-33 but committed 22 turnovers compared to FAU's 20.
"I am most disappointed in us giving up 17 offensive rebounds," added Dugan. "I also thought we really exploited our inside game. (UCF) didn't stop it, we just stopped running it."
McCleod scored 17 points while Goad finished with 11. McCleod and Pierce combined for 30 seond half points. Janka Deckerova scored all eight of her points in the first half while Sumika Alexander had 7. Pierce finished with a game-high eight rebounds.
Allen was the third Golden Knight to finish in double figures as she had 12. Hudson and Kirsty Colligan each led UCF with seven rebounds.
For the second straight game, FAU was without its second-leading scorer, Crystal Boyland, who suffered a knee injury February 13 at Campbell. Jennifer Olson also missed the game due to an ankle injury she suffered in FAU's game against Gardner-Webb on February 15.
The loss drops FAU into third-place in the A-Sun South. Florida Atlantic next plays at Troy State on February 27. TSU moved into second place in the division with a win on Saturday.
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