BUFFALO, NY – The defending Mid-American Conference champion University at Buffalo women's basketball team has been picked to finish second in the MAC East division, as announced by the league on Thursday afternoon. The Bulls earned three first-place votes in the preseason Coaches' Poll while also earning one vote to win the regular season championship and one vote to win the conference tournament.
The league also announced the preseason All-MAC teams which included a pair of UB players, JoAnna Smith and Stephanie Reid. The Bulls were the lone MAC east team to have two representatives on the preseason team.
Smith is coming off of the best season of her career last season as she was able to become the most improved scorer in the NCAA, going from 5.7 PPG as a sophomore to 18.3 PPG as a junior. The Southaven, MS native burst onto the scene and took over the scoring role for UB last year as she was able to set the program record for three-pointers in a season (100) while becoming just the fourth UB player in program history to earn first team All-MAC honors. Smith also was impressive during the Bulls MAC Championship run as she averaged 19.0 PPG over the four-game span, being named to the MAC All-Tournament team and propelling Buffalo to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Not only did Smith lead the Bulls in scoring but she also ranked second on the team in rebounding (6.1 RPG) and third in steals with 50.
Stephanie Reid capped off her impressive campaign in 2015-16 by hitting the game-winning shot at the buzzer in overtime of the MAC Championship game to give UB their first-ever MAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. The Australian native was the floor general for the Bulls all season long as she averaged career-highs in points (10.3 PPG), assists (5.1 APG) and rebounds (3.4 RPG). Reid earned third team All-MAC honors and All-MAC Defensive team following a great sophomore campaign that saw her average 1.9 steals/game.
The 2015-16 campaign for the Bulls was one to remember as they were able to become the lowest seed (eighth) in MAC history to win the conference tournament, advancing to the first NCAA Tournament game in program history. The Bulls finished out the season with a 20-14 record, their first 20-win season since 1996-97.
Graduating just one senior, Karin Moss, and returning the entire starting five from a season ago, the Bulls are looking to build off of last season's impressive run and advance farther in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulls will host an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 4 at 6:00 pm at Alumni Arena as they host division II foe Bloomsburg. Buffalo tips off the regular season on Nov. 11 as they welcome UMass to Alumni Arena for a non-conference game starting at 7:00 pm.
2016-17 MAC East Predicted Order of Finish
1. Ohio (9 first-place votes)
2. Buffalo (3)
4. Bowling Green
5. Miami (OH)
6. Kent State
2016-17 MAC West Predicted Order of Finish
1. Central Michigan (12)
T2. Ball State
4. Western Michigan
5. Northern Illinois
6. Eastern Michigan
2017 MAC Regular Season Predicted Champion
Central Michigan (6)
2017 MAC Tournament Predicted Champion
Central Michigan (7)
Jordan Korinek, Kent State
Quiera Lampkins, Ohio
Hannah Plybon, Akron
JoAnna Smith, Buffalo
Stephanie Reid, Buffalo
Preseason All-MAC West Team
Presley Hudson, Central Michigan
Ally Lehman, Northern Illinois
Janice Monakana, Toledo
Tinara Moore, Central Michigan