Bulls Head To Central Michigan For Showdown Against First Place Chippewas

Bulls Head To Central Michigan For Showdown Against First Place Chippewas

FULL GAME NOTES (.PDF)

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (16-3, 7-1 MAC) will be looking for their sixth straight victory on Wednesday night as they invade McGuirk Arena for a showdown with MAC-leading Central Michigan (16-3, 8-0 MAC). The Bulls and Chippewas will tip at 7:00 pm and the game will air live on ESPN3. The game can also be listened to on ESPN1520 AM starting at 6:30 pm as Matt Mattia will get you set for action with the UB Women's Basketball pre-game Show live from Mount Pleasant, MI.

STORYLINES

  • The Bulls will go for their sixth straight win on Wednesday night as they hit the road for a showdown with MAC West leading Central Michigan at McGuirk Arena at 7:00 pm.
  • This marks the 23rd meeting of all-time between the two programs with both sides winning 11 games. Buffalo won the last meeting against CMU 67-56 at Alumni Arena on Jan. 21, 2017.
  • Buffalo received six votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll on Tuesday afternoon, marking the first time under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack that UB has received votes in the top 25 poll in back-to-back weeks and also the latest in a season they have ever received votes.
  • Buffalo and Auburn are the only two teams in the NCAA to forced 20+ turnovers in at least 17 games this season. The Bulls have forced at least 20 turnovers in 11 straight contests. UB ranks 6th in the NCAA forcing an average of 23.4 turnovers/game.
  • The UB defense ranks 4th in the NCAA averaging 13.8 steals/game. Cierra Dillard ranks 1st in the MAC (3.3) in steals/game while Stephanie Reid ranks 3rd (3.1).
  • Senior point guard Stephanie Reid scored her 1,000th career point in the win over EMU on Saturday.
  • Stephanie Reid currently ranks 5th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.7). She now holds the Bulls program record with 586 career dimes in 100 games played.
  • The potent Buffalo offense scored 97 points on Saturday, marking the most points in a game since January 13, 1996 when they scored 99 vs. Chicago State. UB has now scored 80+ points eight times this season, most since doing so nine times during the 1997-98 campaign.

BULLS HEAD TO CMU FOR SHOWDOWN WITH MAC UNBEATENS
After collecting their fifth straight MAC win on Saturday afternoon against Eastern Michigan, the UB women's basketball team will hit the road for their biggest test of the season on Wednesday night as they travel to Mount Pleasant to take on the MAC West leading Central Michigan Chippewas. The Bulls enter with a 16-3 overall record and a 7-1 MAC mark while the Chippewas enter with a 16-3 overall record and an unblemished 8-0 MAC mark after downing Western Michigan on Saturday. Tip is set for 7:00 pm on Wednesday night inside McGuirk Arena as the game will air live on ESPN3. You can also listen in 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 HOLDS OFF EMU IN OVERTIME THRILLER
Buffalo was able to extend their winning streak to five straight on Saturday afternoon but it didn't come easy as they needed overtime to take down the Eastern Michigan Eagles, 97-92. The Eagles received one of the best scoring days in MAC history from junior Danielle Minott as the sharpshooter netted a school record 44 points but it wasn't enough as Stephanie Reid and Cassie Oursler led the Bulls to victory. Oursler finished off her strong day with 25 points and a career-high 13 rebounds while Reid netted 23 points, nine assists and six steals in the win. The UB defense once again forced 26 turnovers and turned those chances into 17 points while also owning the 15-6 edge in fast break scoring. The Bulls finished off the game with 16 steals and 10 blocks to improve on the program best start to the season.

REWRITING THE HISTORY BOOKS
With their win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday afternoon, the Bulls were able to set multiple program records as they improved to 16-3 overall and 7-1 in the MAC. The 16-3 start to the season is the best start in the programs division I history, 24 years, while the 7-1 MAC start is the best start to MAC play since joining the conference in 1998-99. Buffalo has claimed conference victories over Western Michigan, Akron, Miami (OH), Ball State, Ohio, Toledo and Eastern Michigan by an average of 11.6 points/game while outscoring all opponents this season by an average of 10.4 points/game. The Bulls program record for wins in a season since joining division I is 23 which they did during the 1995-96 campaign when UB was in the Mid-Continent Conference (Summit League). UB now sits just four wins shy of 20 on the season as they look for their third straight 20+ win campaign. If they are able to do so, it will mark just the second time in program history as they won 20+ games from 1994-97, their first three seasons as a Division I program.

BUFFALO RECEIVING TOP 25 VOTES FOR 2ND STRAIGHT WEEK
After posting a strong home victory over Eastern Michigan, the UB women's basketball team garner some national attention for the second straight week as they earned six votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll released on Tuesday, marking the first time under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack that the Bulls earned votes in the poll in back-to-back weeks. This also marks the latest in the season UB has received votes in the Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Bulls also currently rank #23 in the latest RPI poll, highest of any MAC team and the highest ranking ever received by a Buffalo team this late in the season. UB has posted 10 wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-120 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Ball State (#32), Nebraska (#47), St. John's (#56), Toledo (#61), Ohio (78), Western Michigan (#98), UNLV (#104), Miami (OH) (110), Clemson (118) and Delaware (120) by an average of 12.5 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.

REID NOTCHES 1,000th CAREER POINT
Senior point guard Stephanie Reid was able to make her 1,000th career point a dramatic one as she sank a game-clinching free throw in overtime to notch the milestone. Reid finished off Saturday's game with a season-high 23 points as she becomes the second UB player this season to record 1,000 career points. The senior also added to her program record for career assists as she notched nine helpers, giving her 586 for her impressive UB career.
It took Reid just 99 games to break Catherine Jacob's school record that stood since 1999 and she currently sits in 14th place on the MAC's all-time assists charts as she has posted the most career assists in the MAC since 2014 when Akron's Kacie Cassell finished off her career with 688 assists. Reid now has 13 career double digit assist games while also owning the school record for assists in a game as she notched 16 helpers last season against Ball State.

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 16 steals as Stephanie Reid notched six, Summer Hemphill produced a career-best five and Cierra Dillard added four in the win over EMU. The Bulls currently have six players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 3.3 steals/game which ranks 1st in the MAC and 11th in the NCAA. Senior Stephanie Reid currently leads the MAC in steals/game in conference games as she is averaging 3.8 thefts and currently ranks 11th in UB history with 191 career steals.

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 16-3 start. Last time out, the UB offense netted 97 points in the win over EMU and that marked the most points scored in a game since January 13, 1996 when UB posted 99 points in a win over Chicago State. The Bulls have now produced eight games of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The seven 80+ games are the most in a season overall 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 74.8 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 record 16-3 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 9th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.8) as three Bulls are averaging at least 2.1 assists/game so far this season. Reid leads UB averaging 7.7 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 5th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 4.8/game which ranks 6th in the MAC. Last time out, Buffalo notched 21 assists on 30 made field goals in the win over EMU as Reid notched nine assists and Dillard notched seven. 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 eight games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in all 19 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 23.4 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle twice through 19 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 6th in the NCAA forcing 23.4 turnovers/game while also forcing 25.3 turnovers/game at home this season. UB forced 26 EMU turnovers last time out as they are now one of two teams in the NCAA to force 20+ turnovers in at least 17 games this season (Auburn). The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in a program record 11 straight games. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 444 total turnovers into 436 points (22.9/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 25-5 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. These five seniors have combined to appear in 455 career games while combining to start 291 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 77 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 four 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 19 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 235-72 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, UB dominated the the Eagles in the fast break, outscoring them 15-6. The Bulls have now held five opponents without a fast break bucket and they have won the fast break scoring category in 16 of 19 games overall this season. Buffalo has been able to win or tie the fast break scoring category in 44 of their last 51 games over the past two seasons including in 35 of their last 38 wins. Buffalo owned the 270-111 edge in fast break scoring last year.

70 AND UNDER
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 2nd in the MAC in field goal percentage defense (37.4%). The stingy Buffalo defense has held four opponents this season to under 50 points while forcing an average of 23.4 turnovers/game. Over the last three seasons, UB is 56-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 23-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 11-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

OURSLER AIMS FOR 1000 CAREER POINTS
Senior center Cassie Oursler is setting her sights on becoming the third Bull this season to record her 1,000th career point on Saturday as she sits just 18 points shy of the milestone. Oursler has recorded 737 career points in a Buffalo uniform after spending her freshman season at Robert Morris. If Oursler is able to go over 1,000 career points on Saturday, the Bulls would have players record the milestone in back-to-back games for the first time in program history. Senior point guard Stephanie Reid recorded her 1,000th career point on Saturday with a free throw that sealed the win over EMU in overtime. Earlier this season, Cierra Dillard notched her 1,000th career point in a road win over Ball State. UB currently has 24 members of their 1,000 career point club after Reid joined the club on Saturday. 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 wasn't able to outshoot the Eagles on Saturday but still won the game as EMU shot 43.4% and the Bulls shot 42.3% for the game. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 46-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 12-0 this season when doing so.

PAINT PRESENCE
Buffalo has begun to dominate down low of late, having tied or won the scoring inside the paint in 15 of their last 16 games overall. The Bulls have only been outscored in the paint in three times this season. They are 13-2 in the games when they win or tie the battle inside the paint. On the year, UB is averaging 35.2 points in the paint and an average of 40.1 over their last 13 wins.

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 32.3 minutes, 10.4 points, 7.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 steals on the season while appearing in 15 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 5th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.7) and 27th in the NCAA in assist/turnover margin (2.58). Buffalo owns a 13-2 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid helped UB to victory as she posted a season-high 23 points, nine assists and six steals as she notched her 1,000th career point with the game-clinching free throw in overtime. Reid has now recorded 13 double digit assist efforts in her career and five this season. The senior also joined Catherine Jacob (1995-99) as the only players in UB history to record 1000+ points, 500+ assists and 300+ rebounds in their career. Reid has now recorded 3+ assists in each of her last 63 games played while also ranking 6th amongst active players in career assists with 586 career helpers.

DILLY DILLY
Junior guard Cierra Dillard has turned into a fan favorite as her flashy passes and her pure talent have been on display all season long. The Rochester native is averaging 31.1 minutes, a team-high 15.1 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals while making a team-best 44 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against EMU, Dillard didn't have her most effective outing but was still able to record 15 points, seven assists, four steals and four rebounds in the win. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 4.8 dimes/game while also ranking 11th in the NCAA in steals/game (3.3). 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 19 games while notching three games with 6+ steals. Her defense has helped the Bulls get out in transition and score, leading to their 16-3 start to the season. She has been named MAC East Player of the Week three times this year, most of any player. Dillard has also been named UB Athlete of the Week six times this season.

OURSLER POSTS MONSTER GAME
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 15 of 19 games this season. Last time out, Oursler had one of her best games as a Bull as she netted 25 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and four blocks across a career-high 42 minutes of action. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks while shooting 48.2% from the floor and 78.4% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 8th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 48.0% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 118 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 11 straight games. She has also posted a career-best four double-doubles and a career-best two 20+ scoring efforts so far this season.

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 and she had a great game against EMU last time out as she netted 16 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three blocks across 30 minutes. The athletically gifted post player is averaging 24.0 minutes, 9.6 points, a team-best 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while shooting a team-best 59.2% from the floor on the year. Hemphill ranks 2nd in the MAC and 17th in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year. In MAC games, Hemphill is averaging 12.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.3 blocks while shooting 59.1% from the floor as UB is off to a 7-1 MAC start for the first time in program history.

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 another steady game for UB on Saturday as she was able to scored nine points, five rebounds and three assists across 34 minutes of work. 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 24.8 minutes/game. Ups has scored in double figures a career-best eight times this season while starting 28 straight games for head coach Felisha Legette-Jack.

COACH JACK NOTCHES 100TH WIN AT BUFFALO
With the dominant 89-66 victory on December 30th at Akron, UB head coach Felisha Legette-Jack became just the second coach in program history to record 100 wins at Buffalo. The impressive feat by Coach Jack was accomplished in just over five seasons as it took her 172 games. It took the Bulls all-time wins leader Sal Buscaglia 171 games to record his 100th victory at UB during the 1995-96 season. Entering her sixth season as the helm of the Bulls, Felisha Legette-Jack has turned into one of the best head coaches in the MAC as she has guided UB to back-to-back 20+ win seasons and Buffalo has won 17+ games in four straight seasons. Over her illustrious coaching career, Legette-Jack has notched 247 career victories while leading UB to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015-16.

UB GREAT JOANNA SMITH SIGNS PRO DEAL IN TURKEY
Former University at Buffalo women's basketball great JoAnna Smith has inked her second professional contract with the Canik Belediyespor Samsun club in Turkey. Smith is the second UB player to sign a professional contract since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the program in 2012, joining former teammate Christa Baccas. Smith will be one of four American born players on the roster joining Tan White (Mississippi State '05), Avery Warley (Liberty '12) and Eshaya Murphy (USC '07). Murphy was also a second round pick of the Minnesota Lynx in the 2007 WNBA Draft. Smith wrapped up her Buffalo career with 1,395 career points, ranking sixth in program history. The sharpshooter closed out her UB career ranked third in program history in three pointers made (208) and seventh in field goals made (494). Smith played in 121 career games for UB, third most in program history. She began her professional career in Portugal earlier this season and led her team to an undefeated record before choosing to sign and play in the top professional league in Turkey, KBSL.

BACK-TO-BACK 20 WIN SEASONS
Since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the reins of the program prior to the 2012-13 campaign, the Bulls have turned into one of the premier teams in the Mid-American Conference. UB is 92-70 under Legette-Jack's watchful eye as they have accumulated at least 17 victories in each of the past four seasons and 19+ wins in three straight campaigns. Posting 22 wins a season ago, the Bulls have now notched back-to-back 20+ win seasons for just the second time in program history and the first since joining the MAC.