OLEAN, NY – Behind a near triple-double from junior Cierra Dillard, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (8-1, 0-0 MAC) earned their fourth straight win on Friday night as they ran away from the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, 76-59. Dillard finished off her first career double-double as she netted 14 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals across 33 minutes of work. The win at St. Bonaventure was UB's second win of all-time inside the Reilly Center and first as a division I program.
The Bulls saw a pair of players notch milestones on Friday as senior point guard Stephanie Reid notched her 500th career assist, becoming just the second UB player and 23rd player in MAC history to go over 500 helpers. Dillard also hit a career points milestone as she has gone over 900 career points between her two seasons at UMass and her nine games with the Bulls.
The difference in the game for the Bulls on Friday night was their defensive effort, especially in the second half as they were able to hold the Bonnies to just 8-for-28 shooting from the floor across the final 20 minutes. UB improved to 22-0 over the past two seasons when holding an opponent to 59 points or less.
Buffalo got out to a quick start on Friday as Stephanie Reid and Cierra Dillard connected on triples and Reid made a fast break layup to force the Bonnies to take an early timeout, trailing 8-0. After the Bonnies finished off a layup, Katherine Ups connected on her first three of the game and Summer Hemphill finished off a fast break layup after a great feed from Dillard to make the score 13-2 in favor of the Bulls. Bonaventure got back into the game later in the quarter as a jumper made the UB lead, 15-12. Brittany Morrison finished off the quarter strong for the Bulls as she made back-to-back layups to make the score 21-17 in favor of the Bulls at the end of the quarter.
UB once again got off to a good start in the second quarter as they opened the quarter with a 10-3 run to force a Bonaventure timeout just over two minutes in. Katerine Ups was able to connect on a three and a steal and layup during the run to spark the Bulls. After UB extended their lead to 13, 33-30, behind a Morrison layup, the Bonnies got back into the game as they used the deep ball to cut the UB lead to six, 37-31. St. Bonaventure finished the quarter on a 7-4 run as the teams went to the locker room with UB leading 41-38 through 20 minutes.
The stingy Buffalo defense returned in the third quarter for the Bulls as they were able to hold the Bonnies to just 10 points. Dillard was able to take over the game in the third quarter as she had a pretty no look feed to Reid who drilled a triple and she was then able to make back-to-back jumpers. The junior then nailed a three-pointer, her 900th career point, to give UB their biggest lead of the quarter, 59-45. Autumn Jones closed the quarter with a fast break layup as the Bulls headed to the fourth quarter with the 61-48 lead.
The Bonnies opened the final quarter with a triple to cut their deficit to 10, 61-51, but the Bulls wouldn't let them get any closer. Buffalo outscored the Bonnies 15-11 across the final 10 minutes as Dillard finished off an old fashion three-point play to give UB a 14-point lead with just over five minutes remaining. Marissa Hamilton entered the game in the final two minutes and was able to produce three points in front of her friends and family as she grew up close to the St. Bonaventure campus.
Reid looked great in her second game back after injury as she was able to net 15 points, six assists, a career-best five steals and four rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Dillard was special all game long for the Bulls as she finished with 14 points, a career-best 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in the win. Off the bench, Morrison had another strong game for UB as she netted a career-best 14 points and eight rebounds, five offensive, while Katherine Ups was steady as ever with 14 points, four rebounds, a career-high four steals and three assists. Oursler had a great game defensively as she finished with eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals in the win.
As a team, UB was able to shoot 44.3% from the floor while the Bonnies shot 40.0% as UB improved to 42-2 over the last three seasons when shooting a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent. Buffalo was able to force 27 turnovers and they turned those into 29 points, marking the seventh game this season that UB has forced at least 20 turnovers. UB held the 34-20 edge in scoring in the paint and the slim 8-6 edge in fast break scoring.
Buffalo will stay on the road on Monday night as they head to Niagara University to take on the Purple Eagles in their last Big 4 matchup of the season. Tip on Monday is set for 7:00 pm.