TEMPE, AZ – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (4-1, 0-0 MAC) dropped their first game of the season on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Arena as the Arizona State Sun Devils ran past the Bulls, 76-57. With the loss, Buffalo will take on the UNLV Runnin Rebels tomorrow at 2:00 pm inside the Wells Fargo Arena.
The difference in the game for the Sun Devils on Saturday was rebounding as they were able to hold the dominant 47-25 advantage on the glass. Arizona State ripped down 20 offensive rebounds and turned those opportunities into 22 second chance points in the 19-point victory.
Both defenses had strong starts to the opening quarter before the Sun Devils were able to net the first two buckets of the game, taking the 4-0 lead. Cierra Dillard was able to respond quickly as she drilled a pretty floater in the lane and then connected on another layup in traffic to make the score 6-5 in favor of the home team. Brittany Morrison then provided the Bulls with back-to-back layups before Theresa Onwuka finished the scoring for the Bulls with a nice finish at the hoop as the Sun Devils held the 14-11 edge through 10 minutes.
Dillard was able to open the second quarter with her first triple of the game to knot the score at 14 before the Sun Devils responded with five straight to take the 19-14 lead. Dillard again ended the ASU run with a three-pointer but the Sun Devils scored four quick points. A Courtney Wilkins triple was followed up by a great hustle play Katherine Ups where she earned a steal and pushed the ball up to Hanna Hall who fed Theresa Onwuka for a fast break layup to cut the deficit to 25-24 midway through the second. Arizona State went on a 9-0 run to push the lead out to 10, 34-24, before Katherine Ups made a pair of free throws. Dillard finished off the half with four straight free throws as the Sun Devils took the 42-32 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter was a tightly contested 10 minutes as both defenses dug in and forced multiple turnovers. The Sun Devils were able to push the lead out to 11 multiple times but UB responded each time as Katherine Ups made a layup to make the score 44-36 in favor of the home team. Arizona State connected on a jumper to take the 50-39 lead but Dillard drilled a floater in the lane to finish the UB scoring in the quarter as ASU took the 52-41 lead into the fourth.
Katherine Ups opened the final quarter with a strong move and finished off the layup and free throw to get the Bulls within eight, 52-44, but the Bulls couldn't get any closer. The Sun Devils responded with a 7-0 run to make the score 59-44 before a Mariah Suchan free throw stopped the home teams run. With the press on, Buffalo was able to force three straight turnovers to cut the Arizona State lead to nine, 59-50. Summer Hemphill gathered a pair of steals and layups and Katherine Ups finished off a fast break layup after a nice pass from Autumn Jones. UB wasn't able to get the score any closer down the stretch as the Pac-12 member Sun Devils ran away with the 76-57 victory.
Dillard finished off her afternoon with a team-high 18 points, three steals, two rebounds and an assist while Katherine Ups netted 13 points, three rebounds, a steal and an assist. Morrison had a strong game off the UB bench as she netted six points, a team-high four rebounds, a block and a steal across 16 minutes of work. Wilkins was able to provide UB with six points off the bench while Hemphill finished with three points and three steals in the loss.
As a team, Arizona State was able to shoot 41.7% from the floor while the Bulls were held to just 38.5% shooting. Both teams committed 22 turnovers in the game but the Sun Devils were able to turn their chances into 24 points while UB only turned their chances into 17 points. The ASU bench also out produced the UB bench 32-19 for the game.
The Bulls will return to the court tomorrow at 2:00 pm as they will play the UNLV Runnin Rebels at Wells Fargo Arena. Pre-game with Matt Mattia on ESPN1520 will begin at 1:30 pm on Sunday.