Knights defense holds Pirates to season-low in points

UCF players embrace one another after a hard-fought win against East Carolina University Saturday at Williams Arena. The win takes UCF to the top of the American Athletic Conference standings. 

UCF women's basketball earned its second straight conference win of the season Saturday in an away matchup with East Carolina University, beating the Pirates 52-43 despite a slow start. 

UCF's (10-2, 2-0 AAC) 2-0 conference start is its fourth in five years, and has in large part been an effect of the team's defense. Similar to the previous win against Tulane, UCF held ECU (7-7, 1-0 AAC) to its season-low in points.

It marks the ninth time this season they've held a team to its season-low, according to UCF Athletics. 

UCF struggled in the first quarter to get its offense rolling, going down 11-0 in a five minute period, in which they went 0-6 on field goal attempts and had four turnovers. They turned it around going into the second, outscoring ECU 15-8 in the quarter to go into the half with a 22-21 lead. 

UCF was still down towards the end of the third, but responded with a 12-2 run to end the quarter, ignited by a midrange jump shot from senior Diamond Battles. Battles finished with 11 points, four rebounds and five assists. 

UCF took a 47-40 lead, its largest of the game, with 4:39 seconds to go in the fourth. The lead came after junior Alisha Lewis' missed three-point attempt fell into the welcoming hands of senior Tay Sanders for an easy layup. 

Lewis made up for her miss a few seconds later, hitting a wide open three-pointer to seal the game off a pass from Battles. 

Senior Brittney Smith led the team in points with 13. Senior Masseny Kaba had nine points to go with three blocks and three steals. Lewis finished with eight points, six steals, and three assists. 

UCF forced 28 turnovers in the game, scoring 24 points off of the giveaways. 

Though ECU leads the overall series 14-12, the Pirates are still yet to win a game against Head Coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson since her arrival in 2016 and are 2-8 against the Knights since joining the AAC. 

UCF is currently first in the AAC conference standings, and will look to make it three straight conference wins when they welcome the University of Houston to Addition Financial Arena this Tuesday at 6 p.m. Houston is also 2-0 to start conference play. 

Following the win, the team sent out this message to its fans via Twitter. 

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