Women's basketball falls to UCF, 80-72

Nov. 19, 2007

Box Score

ORLANDO, Fla. - Junior guard Virginia Gregoire finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and a career-high five steals to lead the Dolphins to a program-best 21 team steals but the JU women's basketball team fell to UCF, 80-72, Monday evening at the New UCF Center.

JU (3-1), which held a five-point advantage at the half, registered a program-best 21 steals to force the Knights into 26 turnovers and score 23 points off of those mistakes. The Dolphins broke the previous steals mark of 17, which was set last year against Niagara.

UCF (2-2) won the rebounding battle by a 55-30 margin to get 12 second-chance points and also finished with 44 points in the paint. The Knights also snapped two-game losing streak against the Dolphins.

Trailing by as many as 10 points (74-64) with 1:12 remaining in the contest, JU used a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 74-70 after a three by Gregiore with 41 seconds left. The Knights answered by hitting 6-of-6 free throw attempts to seal the game.

"UCF is a great rebounding team and we needed a complete team effort to crash the boards tonight," said JU head coach Jill Dunn. "We gave up too many easy baskets in the second half as their big players started to get going. Defensively, we forced them into a lot of turnovers tonight but we couldn't convert some of the shots and we missed too many free throw opportunities."

Gregoire tied a career-high by connecting on 10-of-18 from the floor. Senior forward Ashley Williams tallied 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds and three blocks. Junior guard Regina Omoite rounded out the Dolphin scoring with 12 points while also tallying six assists. Junior guard DaVina Hamilton added eight points, five rebounds and four steals.

Emma Cannon led the Knights with a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds while connecting on 8-of-13 shots in the paint and 8-of-13 free throws. Tia Lewis added 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half, on 8-of-9 shooting form the floor while also adding nine rebounds. Chelsie Wiley finished with 10 points to round out the UCF offense.

In the first half, JU jumped out to an early 6-2 lead after a layup by Hamilton at the 17:30 mark. UCF took its first lead, 10-8, after a jumper in the paint by Cannon (15:28) but JU retook the lead, 19-18, with a free throw by sophomore forward Crystal Grable (11:17). The Knights recaptured the lead, 23-21, on a jumper by Caldwell at the 9:30 mark but a jumper by Jackson gave the Dolphins a 24-23 advantage with 8:16 left.

UCF retook the lead, 25-24, on a jumper by N'Day Daniels with 6:23 remaining but a layup by Gregoire at the 5:25 mark gave JU the lead for good in the first half. The Dolphins increased the margin to 33-28 on a three-pointer by Hamilton with 3:15 left and then made it a 37-30 advantage with a layup by Gregoire with 50 seconds left. A jumper in the lane by Chelsie Wiley made it a 37-32 score at the break.

In the second half, UCF opened with an 8-3 run to tie the contest, 40-40, with a jumper by Lewis at the 17:32 mark. JU retook the lead, 42-40, on a jumper by Williams at the 17:17 mark but it would be the last advantage for the Dolphins. UCF used a 12-3 run to make it 52-45 on a layup by Daniels (11:10) and then increased the lead to 65-56 on a three-point play by Cannon with 5:40 left.

The Dolphins will return to action in the Lady Pirate Invitation in Greenville, N.C. this weekend as JU plays UMass on Friday at 7 p.m.