KENT, OH – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (20-9, 10-8 MAC) dropped their regular season finale on the road to the Kent State Golden Flashes, 80-71. Despite the loss, the Bulls claimed the #7 seed in the upcoming Mid-American Conference tournament and will host #10 seed Bowling Green at 5:30 pm on Monday.
The Bulls were able to get out to a quick start as Cassie Oursler drilled a jumper on the first series of the game. The lead was then extended out to 8-2 as Mariah Suchan made a nice driving layup to force a Kent State timeout. The Golden Flashes then made a nice run to tie the game at 10 as Larissa Lurken hit her first shot of the game. JoAnna Smith and Oursler hit jumpers in the final minutes of the quarter as the Bulls earned the 17-15 lead through 10 minutes of action.
Smith opened up the second quarter with her 200th career three pointer to give the Bulls the 20-15 lead but the Flashes started to get to the free throw line as they made four straight to cut the UB lead to three. Stephanie Reid had a pair of pretty layups and Oursler drilled a jumper as the Bulls raced out to the 28-23 lead midway through the second. Kent State responded nicely as they finished off the half on a 14-4 run as they connected on six freebies and a pair of triples to head to the locker room with the 37-32 lead.
The Golden Flashes opened up the third quarter with a jumper to make it 39-32 but Buffalo responded quickly as Reid made a pretty layup and then stole a pass and fed Smith for a free layup to cut their deficit to three, 39-36. After a Kent State three pointer gave them the five point lead, 44-39, Oursler finished off a pair of layups and Smith drilled a triple to give Buffalo the 46-44 lead with three minutes left in the quarter. Kent State was then able to end the quarter on a 14-3 run to take the 58-49 lead into the final quarter.
The Bulls made a valiant effort to get back into the game despite the lopsided foul calls as Oursler finished off a layup and free throw after a great feed from Theresa Onwuka to bring UB within five, 63-58. Summer Hemphill then ignited the Bulls with a huge block and she fed Onwuka for a fast break layup to cut their deficit to three, 63-60. After the Flashes saw their lead blossom to seven, Reid made a nice layup and Hemphill hit a pair of free throws to make the score 68-65 but the Bulls weren't able to get any closer.
Oursler had the best game of her career in the loss for the Bulls as the junior went 9-for-11 from the floor and scored a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds across 29 minutes. Reid finished off another strong game with 17 points, eight assists, five steals and two rebounds and she surpassed 800 career points in the loss. Smith finished with 13 points and five rebounds as she connected on three triples, giving her 202 career three pointers. She is just the third player in UB program history to surpass 200 career threes. Suchan had a strong game, going for 11 points and eight boards.
For the game, the Golden Flashes were able to shoot 39.0% while the Bulls shot 38.7%. Both teams turned the ball over 17 times while Kent State held the 21-17 edge in scoring off of turnovers. The Golden Flashes turned 12 offensive rebounds into 21 second chance points while UB won the battle of the paint, 34-14.
The Bulls will return to the court on Monday at 5:30 pm as they play host to #10 Bowling Green in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The game will air live on ESPN3. Tickets for Monday's game can be purchased at the Alumni Arena ticket booth or by calling 1-877-UB-THERE.