Bulls Earn No. 2 Seed In MAC Tournament; Cap Emotional Senior Day With 74-38 Triumph
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women’s basketball team (25-4, 16-2 MAC) capped an unprecedented regular season on Saturday afternoon with a dominant 74-38 victory over Bowling Green on Senior Day in front of 2,681 fans. UB was able to send their senior class out on top as they closed out the first undefeated home season, 12-0, in the program’s division I history.
Buffalo secured the No. 2 seed for the MAC Tournament, their highest seed in program history, and will play in the MAC quarterfinals on Wednesday afternoon against the winner of Toledo and Kent State.
The Bulls have now collected a program record for wins in a season (25) and MAC victories (16) while also tying the program record for road wins (10) and closing out the first unbeaten home season (12-0) in division I history.
Things got off to a slow start on Saturday for both teams as UB was able to earn the 9-2 advantage as Stephanie Reid drilled a triple with just over three minutes remaining in the opening quarter. After the Falcons cut the UB lead to four, 9-5, Cassie Oursler capped the scoring in the quarter for the Bulls with a pair of free throws to make it 11-7 in favor of UB through 10 minutes.
The Bulls played a better second quarter as they were able to outscore the Falcons 21-13 to take the 12-point halftime lead. Cierra Dillard connected on a three pointer to give UB the 20-9 lead and force a Bowling Green timeout early on in the quarter. After the Falcons cut the lead to eight, 22-14, Oursler and Katherine Ups made back-to-back layups to give the Bulls their biggest lead of the half. Mariah Suchan and Autumn Jones closed out the scoring in the half as Suchan drilled a jumper and Jones notched a steal and fast break layup to send the Bulls to the locker room leading 32-20.
UB was able to come out of the locker room with some intensity and put the game away in the third quarter. The Bulls were able to run the Falcons out of the gym in the quarter as they outscored Bowling Green 24-6 in the quarter. The UB defense forced seven Falcon turnovers while offensively UB shot 62.5% from the floor.
The Falcons were able to cut the UB lead down to 12, 36-24, just over two minutes into the quarter but the Bulls responded quickly with a 15-0 run. Oursler opened the run with back-to-back layups before Jones was able to finish off the run with a triple after a perfect pass from Theresa Onwuka to give UB the 27-point lead, 51-24. Brittany Morrison then entered the game and finished off the quarter with five straight points to give the Bulls the 56-26 lead through 30 minutes.
In the final quarter, UB was able to get their bench some action as well as a lineup that featured all five seniors for a two minute stretch. After the seniors exited the game, they were showered with cheers from the Buffalo faithful as they closed out their playing careers inside Alumni Arena.
The UB bench didn’t let up in the fourth quarter as Marissa Hamilton scored five quick points and Courtney Wilkins drilled a triple to give the Bulls the 66-26 lead. The final Bull to record a point in the game on Saturday was senior Liisa Ups who drove into the lane and made a jumper to give UB their biggest lead of the game and season, 73-30. Onwuka finished off the game with a free throw as UB claimed their ninth straight win, downing the Falcons 74-38.
All 14 Buffalo players were able to record at least one point on Saturday, marking the first time all season the Bulls were able to have each player notch a point. Jones led the Bulls offensive attack off the bench on Saturday as she netted 13 points on 5-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-5 from behind the arc while also grabbing two steals in the win. Oursler played her final home game at Alumni Arena and she finished it off with 12 points, five rebounds and four blocks across 21 minutes of work.
Reid capped her great home career with seven points, seven assists and five steals across 23 minutes while Katherine Ups finished her game with six points and four rebounds. Suchan came off the bench and chipped in with five points and five rebounds while Morrison finished off her strong game with seven points, eight rebounds and three steals in nine minutes of work.
As a team, the Bulls were able to dominant the paint once again as they outscored the Falcons 42-24. Buffalo outrebounded the Falcons 44-39 and turned 10 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points in the win. UB also forced 25 Bowling Green turnovers, their 19th time forcing at least 20 turnovers in a game this season. The Bulls also turned those 25 turnovers into 28 points while owning the fast break category, 22-2.
The stingy Buffalo defense held their seventh opponent this season to under 50 points and their first under 40 points scored as UB collected the 36-point victory. The Bulls are now 17-0 this season when holding their opponent to under 70 points scored and 20-0 when shooting a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent.
The senior class of Stephanie Reid, Cassie Oursler, Mariah Suchan, Katherine Ups and Liisa Ups wrapped up their career inside Alumni Arena with a 42-13 overall record, the winningest senior class in the Bulls division I history.
The Bulls will now wait until Monday night to see who they will be taking on in the MAC quarterfinals at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. UB will be the No. 2 seed and take on the winner of No. 7 Toledo and No. 10 Kent State. The quarterfinal game in Cleveland will be the third game of the day on Wednesday afternoon with an approximate tip time of 5:00 pm.