DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Strong defensive effort helps the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (4-0, 0-0 MAC) stays unbeaten on Friday night as the Bulls handed the Clemson Tigers the 61-41 loss in the second game of the San Juan Shootout in Daytona Beach at the Ocean Center. With the win, UB improved to 4-0 on the season for the third straight year and have now won two straight against ACC member Clemson.
Sophomore Summer Hemphill provided the Bulls with a huge spark off the bench as she grabbed a season-best 14 rebounds, six offensive, in 25 minutes of work. The Buffalo, NY native was all over the floor in the second half and her energy and rebounding helped make the difference in the 20-point win for the Bulls.
The story of the game for the Bulls was their rebounding against a very athletic Clemson squad as UB held the 50-42 edge in that category and snatched 21 offensive boards in the victory. The Bulls were able to turn their 21 offensive rebounds into nine second chance points while collecting the 20-point victory over the Tigers.
The Tigers opened up the game with a quick jumper but the Bulls were able to respond next possession down the floor as Cierra Dillard found Mariah Suchan who buried a corner jumper. The two sides exchanged buckets to make the score 6-6 midway through the quarter before UB took control of the game. Over the final five minutes, the Bulls were able to outscore the Tigers 10-0 as Liisa Ups and Katherine Ups each nailed triples and Cassie Oursler finished the scoring with a jumper after a nice feed from Liisa Ups to give UB the 16-6 lead through 10 minutes.
The Buffalo defense continued to lead the way in the second half as the Bulls held the Tigers to just seven points in the quarter and a season-best 13 halftime points. The Tigers were able to cut the Buffalo lead to 19-11 after a layup but the Bulls responded with a 9-0 run of their own to take the commanding 28-11 lead. Dillard drilled four free throws while Hanna Hall chipped in with a layup and free throw during the run. Summer Hemphill closed out the scoring in the half with a deep jumper to give the Bulls the 30-13 halftime lead.
UB opened the second half with a quick 5-0 spurt capped by a Hemphill layup after a great feed from Hall to make the score 37-13. The Tigers responded with a 6-0 run of their own to make it 37-19 but UB responded again as Theresa Onwuka and Hemphill made back-to-back buckets. The Tigers were able to end the quarter on a 6-2 run as the Bulls went to the fourth with the 44-25 lead.
The fourth quarter was more of the same for the Bulls as they were able to ice the game in the final 10 minutes. Suchan opened the quarter with a jumper and a free throw to extend the UB lead out to 22. After a pair of Clemson layups, Onwuka made a pretty move and finished off the layup and free throw to give the Bulls the dominant 52-31 lead. Ayoleka Sodade made her presence felt in the final couple minutes of the game as she finished off a fast break layup after a great feed from Hemphill to give UB the 56-34 lead. Freshman Marissa Hamilton then drilled her second career three-pointer to close out the scoring for UB as they earned the 61-41 win.
Oursler led the way for the Bulls as she recorded her fourth straight game in double figures as she netted 13 points and a season-high eight rebounds across 23 minutes. Katherine Ups had another great all-around game for UB as she netted 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in 29 minutes while Hemphill shined with six points, 14 rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of work.
Making her first career start at point guard, Hanna Hall was solid for the Bulls on Friday as she finished off the game with three points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 17 minutes while Dillard had a quiet shooting night finishing with six points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Onwuka had a good game off the bench with seven points in the win.
As a team, the Bulls shot a season-low 30.9% from the floor but were able to hold the Tigers to just 27.8% shooting including not allowing a three-point field goal, 0-for-12. The Bulls also outrebounded the Tigers 50-42 and forced 23 Clemson turnovers that were turned into 21 Buffalo points.
Buffalo will return to the road next weekend as they travel to the west coast to participate in the Arizona State Classic in Tempe, AZ. The Bulls will open the tournament against the nationally-ranked hosts, the Arizona State Sun Devils. The two teams will clash on Saturday, December 2 at 4:30 pm.