Bulls Ready To Clash With Ohio In Athens On Wednesday Night

Bulls Ready To Clash With Ohio In Athens On Wednesday Night

FULL GAME NOTES (.PDF)

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (13-3, 4-1 MAC) will look to extend their winning streak to three straight on Wednesday night as they head to Athens, OH to take on MAC east foe Ohio (9-7, 3-2 MAC). Wednesday nights game will tip at 7:00 pm inside the Convocation Center and will air live on ESPN3.

Fans can also listen to Wednesday nights game live on ESPN1520 as Matt Mattia will get you ready for the action with the UB Women's Basketball pregame show begininning at 6:30 pm.

THE SERIES
This marks the 38th meeting of all-time between the two programs with the Bulls owning the 20-17 edge in the series dating back to 1998-99. UB has won four of the last five meetings with the Bobcats. Buffalo is 4-6 against the Bobcats inside of the Convocation Center in their last 10 games there.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
The Ohio Bobcats enter Wednesday nights game with an overall record of 9-7 and a MAC mark of 3-2 after downing Western Michigan 69-54 last time out on the road. The Bobcats are being led offensively by sophomore Amani Burke who is averaging 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals while playing an average of 29.8 minutes/game. Freshman Cierra Hooks is enjoying a strong start to her first season as she is averaging 12.7 points, a team-best 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 1.9 assists while Dominique Doseck is averaging 9.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals. Ohio is strong defensively as they are holding their opponents to 65.6 points/game while also holding opponents to 44.8% shooting. The Bobcats are being outrebounded 32.1 to 42.8 so far this season.

BULLS HEAD TO ATHENS FOR MAC EAST CLASH VS. OHIO
After earning a huge road victory over 14-1 Ball State on Saturday afternoon, the Bulls will remain on the road on Wednesday night as they travel to MAC East foe Ohio. The Bulls enter with a 13-3 overall record and a 4-1 MAC mark while the Bobcats are 9-7 with a 3-2 MAC mark so far this season. Both sides will be looking to stay perfect against the MAC east as Buffalo is 2-0 and the Bobcats are 1-0. Tip is set for 7:00 pm on Wednesday night inside the Convocation Center as the game will air live on ESPN3 or on the radio on ESPN1520 with Matt Mattia on the call starting at 6:30 pm with the UB women's basketball pregame show.

UB KNOCKS OFF BALL STATE ON THE ROAD ON SATURDAY
The Bulls are coming off of a thriller 84-80 road victory over the 14-1 Ball State Cardinals on Saturday afternoon to lift Buffalo's record to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in MAC play for just the second time in program history. The Bulls came out strong in the opening quarter as they netted a season-high 29 points and the offense produced another 80+ point performance for the sixth time this season as they held on to the road win. Leading the way offensively for the Bulls was junior Cierra Dillard who netted a team-high 20 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds as she now has three 20+ scoring games as a Bull. Cassie Oursler came on strong in the second half as she posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Stephanie Reid continued her steady play at the point guard spot, posting 11 points and nine assists in the victory.

UB LOOK TO ADD TO PROGRAM'S BEST MAC START
With their win over Ball State on the road on Saturday, the Bulls set their program record for best start to the MAC season as they improved to 4-1. Buffalo has claimed victories over Western Michigan, Akron, Miami (OH) and Ball State by an average of 13.5 points/game. Prior to the win over Ball State, the best start in conference play for the Bulls though five games was 3-2.

BUFFALO COMES IN AT 28 IN THE LATEST NCAA RPI RANKINGS
After posting a big road win over Ball State, a team that was ranked #28 in RPI, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team checked in at #28 in the latest NCAA RPI Rankings that were released on Thursday morning. UB has posted five wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-100 in the RPI rankings as they downed St. John's (#29), Ball State (#39), Western Michigan (#79), Nebraska (#82) and Delaware (#100) by an average of 10.2 points/game. Earlier this season, UB came in as high as #14 in the RPI rankings. The MAC is ranked as the seventh best conference in the NCAA in regards to RPI.

BULLS RANK 4TH IN NCAA IN STEALS
The Bulls pride themselves on defense and they have turned into one of the best teams in the nation in creating steals. Buffalo currently averages 13.8 steals/game which leads the MAC and ranks 4th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo racked up 11 steals as Cierra Dillard notched four and Cassie Oursler secured two steals. The Bulls currently have six players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 3.1 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 16th in the NCAA. Senior Stephanie Reid ranks second on the team averaging 2.8 steals as she has produced 174 career thefts.

LETS GET OFFENSIVE
The Buffalo offense underwent a change this offseason to become a quicker, more effective unit and that has produced some strong offensive efforts during the Bulls 13-3 start. The UB offense has now produced six games of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The six 80+ games are the most in a season by the Bulls since doing it nine times during the 1997-98 season when UB was in the Mid-Continent Conference (Now called the Summit League). The UB offense ranks fourth in the MAC in scoring, averaging 74.5 points/game.

HELPING HANDS
Despite missing star point guard Stephanie Reid for four games earlier this season, the Bulls have been able to dish out their fair share of assists during their 13-3 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 11th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.9) as five Bulls are averaging at least 1.4 assists/game so far this season. Reid leads UB averaging 7.7 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 6th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 4.7/game. Last time out, Buffalo notched 21 assists on 33 made field goals in the win over Ball State as Reid notched a team-best nine helpers. In a win over UNLV earlier this season, the Bulls were able to set a Division I program record with 28 assists on 29 made field goals. So far this season, the Bulls have notched seven games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in all 16 games, proving that team work and sharing the ball equate to victories on the court.

COUGHING IT UP
The pesky Buffalo defense has been able to force an average of 23.3 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle twice through 16 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 8th in the NCAA forcing 23.3 turnovers/game. UB forced 23 Ball State turnovers last time out as they are now one of two teams in the NCAA to force 20+ turnovers in at least 14 games this season (Auburn). The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in eight straight games. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 373 total turnovers into 364 points (22.8/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 23-5 record when committing less turnovers than their opponents.

SENIOR CLASS
This Buffalo squad is jammed full of experience and it starts with their senior class of five players, Stephanie Reid, Liisa Ups, Katherine Ups, Mariah Suchan and Cassie Oursler. This impressive senior class has accumulated 74 victories together and they are now the winningest senior class since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1998-99. No other senior class in the Bulls division I history have put together three 20+ win seasons, which this group is looking to accomplish this year with seven more victories.

RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
Buffalo turned into one of the best teams in the country out in transition a season ago and with the athleticism on the roster this year, UB is near the top of the nation in fast break scoring once again. Through 16 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 191-62 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, UB was outscored for just the third time this season as Ball State held the 8-4 edge out in transition. The Bulls have held four opponents without a fast break bucket and they have won the fast break scoring category in 13 of 16 games overall this season. Buffalo has been able to win or tie the fast break scoring category in 41 of their last 48 games over the past two seasons inclduing in 32 of their last 35 wins. Buffalo owned the 270-111 edge in fast break scoring last year.

PAINT PRESENCE
Buffalo has begun to dominate down low of late, having tied or won the scoring inside the paint in 13 straight games. The Bulls have only been outscored in the paint in two games this season. They are 11-3 in the games when they win or tie the battle inside the paint and they once again dominated the paint on Saturday in the win at Ball State, 38-26. On the year, UB is averaging 35.0 points in the paint and an average of 39.0 over their last nine wins.

MAGIC NUMBER 59
The Bulls have been known for their defense since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the program six seasons ago which has helped UB produce back-to-back 20+ win seasons. Legette-Jack's goal for the team is to keep their opponent under 60 points as UB is 23-0 when doing so across the past two seasons. After leading the MAC a season ago in points allowed/game, the Buffalo defense has once again locked down opposing offenses as they rank 1st in the MAC in field goal percentage defense (36.7%) and 4th in scoring defense (63.8 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has held four opponents this season to under 50 points. Over the last three seasons, UB is 54-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 23-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 9-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

DILLARD FIRST OF 3 UB PLAYERS TO GO OVER 1000 POINTS
With her 16th point on Saturday against Ball State, junior Cierra Dillard joined the 1,000 career point club as she notched 783 points at UMass through two seasons and has posted 221 points in the blue and white. Dillard is the first of three UB players that will reach the 1000 career point plateau this season as senior Stephanie Reid has notched 965 points and senior Cassie Oursler sits at 939 points. Dillard is just the sixth UB player to reach the 1,000 point plateau during her junior season. UB currently has 23 members of their 1,000 career point club with JoAnna Smith being the last member to surpass 1K as she did so during the 2016-17 campaign. The Bulls have never seen three players go over 1,000 career points in the same season. The last duo of teammates to record 1,000 career points in the same season were assistant coach Kristen Sharkey and Mackenzie Loesing in 2014-15.

SHOOTING FOR THE STARS   
One of the keys to success for the Bulls over the past couple of seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has been shooting a better percentage from the floor than their opponents. Buffalo was able to shoot a higher percentage from the floor than Ball State on Saturday and it resulted in another victory. Buffalo shot 45.8% from the floor while the Cardinal were held to 44.4% shooting. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 45-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 11-0 this season when doing so.

REID 'EM AND WEEP
Senior point guard Stephanie Reid has turned into one of the best floor generals in country over her impressive four-year UB career and is the midst of her best basketball right now. The senior has been great since returning from injury as she is averaging 30.7 minutes, 10.1 points, 7.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 steals on the season while appearing in 12 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 6th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.7) and 25th in the NCAA in assist/turnover margin (2.71). Buffalo owns a 10-2 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid posted another strong game as she had 11 points, nine assists, two rebounds and a steal in the win over Ball State. Reid has now recorded 12 double digit assist efforts in her career and four this season. Earlier this season, Reid became just the second UB player and 23rd player in MAC history to go over 500 career assists and the first in the conference since 2014. This in an impressive feat for a player who missed half of her freshman campaign. Reid has continued her climb to become the Bulls all-time leader in assists in a career as she sits just 10 assists shy of the program record (572). The senior also joined Catherine Jacob (1995-99) as the only players in UB history to record 900+ points, 500+ assists and 300+ rebounds in their career.

DILLY DILLY
Junior guard Cierra Dillard has turned into a fan favorite as her flashy passes and her pure talent has been on display all season long. The Rochester native is averaging 30.2 minutes, a team-high 13.8 points, 4.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 steals while making a team-best 36 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Miami, Dillard finished off the win at Ball State with a game-high 20 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds as she went over the 1,000 career point plateau. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 4.7 dimes/game while also ranking 16th in the NCAA in steals/game (3.1). She uses her superior basketball IQ to get into the opposing teams passing lanes and uses her quick hands to force tons of turnovers for the Bulls. On the year, Dillard has recorded at least one steal in all 16 games while notching six steals twice. Her defense has helped the Bulls get out in transition and score, leading to their 13-3 start to the season. She also earned MAC East Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career earlier this year and has been named UB Athlete of the Week three times.

OURSLER'S POST PRESENCE KEY TO UB SUCCESS
Fifth-year senior center Cassie Oursler is being leaned on heavily this season and she is proving that she is more than capable of shouldering the load down low for the Bulls. The Grand Island, NY native is having her best offensive season to date for the Bulls as she has scored in double figures in 13 of 16 games this season. Last time out, Oursler notched her third double-double of the season as she finished off the win over Ball State with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two steals in just 26 minutes of work. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and a team-best 1.8 blocks while shooting 49.2% from the floor and 73.5% from the charity stripe. Oursler moved into 7th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 111 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in eight straight games. With an improved fitness level this season and a new offensive game plan, the senior has been exploiting her opponents not only down low but also in the open court all season long.

HEMPHILL GAINING CONFIDENCE
The Bulls have been waiting for sophomore Summer Hemphill to break out and prove she is a dominant post presence and she might be in the midst of that right now. The Buffalo native is becoming a reliable source of scoring and rebounding for the Bulls of late as last time out she netted 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes. Hemphill has now scored in double figures in a career-best seven games this season. The athletically gifted post player is averaging 22.7 minutes, 8.7 points, a team-best 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting a team-best 57.8% from the floor on the year. Hemphill is tied for second in the MAC and 23rd in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year.

UPS, UPS AND AWAY
Senior Katherine Ups has been looked upon as a glue player that makes everyone on the team better her whole career but this season she has turned into a vital scorer and facilitator for UB. The stabalizing force for the Bulls all season long had one of her most impactful offensive games on Saturday in the win over Ball State as she was able to connect on three straight triples in the fourth quarter to lift UB to the huge road win. Ups finished off her game with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists across 34 minutes of action. The senior is a key to UB's success and she is having a career year, averaging 8.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists across 24.3 minutes/game.