TEMPE, AZ – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (5-1, 0-0 MAC) delivered a huge performance in the consolation game of the ASU Classic on Sunday afternoon as they ran past the UNLV Lady Rebels 80-53. The UB offense was able to shoot a season-best 50% from the floor while also outscoring UNLV 23-4 in the fast break.
The turning point of the game came in the final three minutes of the opening half as the Bulls were able to go on a 13-0 run to close the first half with the 36-27 lead. Junior Autumn Jones was the catalyst for the Bulls as she went on a personal 10-0 run to close things out as she knocked down two triples and a pair of layups to help UB stretch the lead to nine at half.
UNLV was able to open the game quick as they took the 8-2 lead as the lone UB bucket came from Cassie Oursler after a great feed from Katherine Ups. The Rebels were then able to push the lead to seven, 14-7, but the Bulls scored four straight as Mariah Suchan drilled a jumper and Cierra Dillard made a pair of free throws. The Bulls closed out the half with three free throws, two by Ayoleka Sodade and one from Katherine Ups as the Rebels took the 16-14 lead into the second.
Buffalo was able to take their first lead of the game early in the second quarter as Dillard drilled a triple and Cassie Oursler finished off a layup after a nice feed from Dillard, giving UB the 19-18 lead. Another triple from Dillard gave UB the four point lead before the Lady Rebels made five straight free throws to take the 23-22 edge. Trailing 27-23 with three minutes remaining, the Bulls were able to turn things on as Dillard hit her third triple of the game and Jones closed out the half on a personal 10-0 run to give the Bulls the 36-27 halftime lead. Suchan finished the half strong with a pair of blocks defensively to secure the nine-point lead for UB.
The Bulls put together one of their most compete quarters of the season in the third quarter as they outscored the Lady Rebels 20-8 while holding UNLV to no field goals over the final five minutes of the quarter. Oursler put together a strong quarter as she was able to net eight points, getting out in transition and finishing at the basket. UB was yet again able to finish the quarter on a high not as they went on a 9-0 run to close things out as Brittany Morrison finished off a nice pass from Oursler for the final points of the quarter.
The fourth quarter was evenly played until around the four minute mark when the Bulls took over. UB was able to close out the game on a 13-1 run to earn the decisive 80-53 victory. Morrison and Hanna Hall played big minutes for the Bulls in the fourth as Hall was able to finish off a three-point play from Oursler and another fast break layup after a Jones feed. The Bulls outscored the Lady Rebels 24-18 in the final quarter en route to their fifth win of the season.
The Bulls saw four players score in double figures for just the second time this season as Dillard led the way with 18 points, five assists and two rebounds in 29 minutes of work while connecting on four three-pointers. Oursler had her best game of the season as she netted 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals while going 8-for-11 from the floor. Off the bench, Jones went 6-for-10 and finished with a career-high 15 points while also dishing out two assists while Suchan played 17 tough minutes and produced 10 points, six rebounds and three steals. Katherine Ups continued her steady play with five points, six rebounds and three assists while Hall contributed with five points and a season-best seven assists in the 27-point victory.
As a team, UB shot 50% from the floor while holding UNLV to just 30% shooting from the floor and 13.4% from behind the arc. Buffalo was able to force 26 turnovers and they turned those into 25 points while they dominated the fast break category, 23-4. The UB bench produced their best game of the season, outscoring UNLV 41-13.
Buffalo will return home on Thursday for a Big 4 showdown with the Canisius Golden Griffins. Tip at Alumni Arena on Thursday is set for 7:00 pm. The game will air live on ESPN3 with Paul Peck and Amy Audibert on the call.