Women's Hoops Welcomes MAC East Foe Kent State On Wednesday Night

Women's Hoops Welcomes MAC East Foe Kent State On Wednesday Night

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BUFFALO, NY - After a pair of tough road games last week, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (17-4, 8-2 MAC) will return to the friendly confines of Alumni Arena on Wednesday night as they welcome MAC east foe Kent State for the first of two meetings this season. The Bulls have won six of their last seven games while the Golden Flashes are 2-5 over their last seven MAC games. Wednesday's game will air live on ESPN3 at 7:00 pm as Josh Whetzel and Amy Audibert will be on the call.

STORYLINES

  • The Bulls will look to add to their program best 17-4 start overall and 8-2 MAC mark as they welcome the Kent State Golden Flashes on Wednesday night. Buffalo has won six of their last seven games overall while averaging 81.4 points over that span.
  • This marks the 29th meeting between the two programs all-time with the Golden Flashes holding the 15-13 series lead over the Bulls. Buffalo has been dominant as of late, winning of the last 11 games against Kent State including six straight inside Alumni Arena by an average of 15.8 points/game.
  • Buffalo received two 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 three consecutive weeks and also the latest in a season they have ever received votes.
  • Buffalo earned their first win ever at Toledo last time out as they handed the Rockets the 84-73 loss. Buffalo also set a program record for points in the paint for a game as they scored 66 points in the paint in the victory.
  • Buffalo and Auburn are the only two teams in the NCAA to forced 20+ turnovers in at least 18 games this season. The Bulls have forced at least 20 turnovers in 12 of their last 13 contests. UB ranks 8th in the NCAA forcing an average of 22.9 turnovers/game.
  • The potent Buffalo offense has scored 80+ points in four straight games as they have now scored over 80 points nine times this season, marking the most in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The program record for 80+ point games is 14 which the Bulls did twice, 1996-97 and 1995-96.

BULLS WELCOMES MAC EAST FOE KENT STATE ON WEDNESDAY
After collecting their first win ever at Toledo on Saturday afternoon, the Bulls will look to stay perfect on their home court on Wednesday night as they welcome the Kent State Golden Flashes for the first of two meetings. Buffalo enters with a 17-4 overall record and a 8-2 MAC mark while the Golden Flashes are 11-12 overall and 4-7 in MAC play. Wednesday nights game will air live on ESPN3 with Josh Whetzel and Amy Audibert on the call. 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.

BUFFALO EARNS REGULAR SEASON SWEEP OF TOLEDO
Last time out, the Bulls were able to do something they never have done in their programs history as they were able to win on the road at Toledo. The Bulls did most of their damage inside the paint on Saturday as they were able to post the 84-73 road victory over the Rockets to sweep the regular season series from Toledo. Sophomore Summer Hemphill was a monster on Saturday as she notched her second straight double-double as she posted 18 points, 13 rebounds and three steals while going 8-for-12 from the floor. UB's leading scorer Cierra Dillard had another strong game for the Bulls as she netted a team-high 21 points, four rebounds and four assists while Cassie Oursler netted 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks as she went over the 1,000 career point plateau in the win.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Bulls will return to Alumni Arena on Wednesday night looking to improve to 8-0 overall and 5-0 against MAC foes on their home court. The Bulls are averaging 80.4 points/game while shooting 42.1% from the floor so far this season at home while limiting opponents to just 62.6 points/game and 36.5% shooting. Alumni Arena has been nice to the Bulls over the past five seasons as UB owns a 46-17 record in front of their home fans. UB is 9-4 against MAC opponents on their home court over the last two seasons. The Bulls wrapped up their 2016-17 home campaign with a 13-4 record at home, a program record for wins since joining the MAC in 1998-99. Buffalo was also able to start last season 8-0 at home for just the second time since joining the MAC. Over the past four seasons, UB is averaging 72.1 points/game while limiting their opponents to just 56.9 points/game at Alumni Arena.

FIVE STRAIGHT 17+ WIN SEASONS
The Bulls have now posted five straight 17+ win seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. Prior to Legette-Jack taking over the UB program, Buffalo saw just seven seasons with 17+ victories with their last one coming in 2002-03 season when they won 18 games. The Bulls are on pace for their third straight 20+ win season which has happened only once in the Bulls division I history as they did so from 1994-97.

REWRITING THE HISTORY BOOK
The Bulls have put together a historic start to their 2017-18 campaign as they currently own a 17-4 overall record and a 8-2 MAC mark. The 17-4 start to the season is the best start in the programs division I history since starting 18-4 in 1996-97. The Bulls 8-2 MAC start marks their 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 9.6 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 3RD STRAIGHT WEEK
After earning a huge road win at Toledo on Saturday, the UB women's basketball team garnered some national attention for the third straight week as they earned two votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll released on Tuesday afternoon, marking the first time under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack that the Bulls earned votes in the poll in three straight weeks. This also marks the latest in the season UB has received votes in the Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Bulls also currently rank #22 in the lastest 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 nine wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-110 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Ball State (#40), Nebraska (#56),  St. John's (#59), Toledo (twice) (#61), Ohio (#76), Miami (OH) (#95), UNLV (#100) and Western Michigan (#109). 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 13.7 steals/game which leads the MAC and ranks 4th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo racked up 10 steals as Summer Hemphill notched three and Katherine Ups posted two thefts. 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 14th in the NCAA. Senior Stephanie Reid currently leads the MAC in steals/game in conference games as she is averaging 3.3 thefts and currently ranks 10th in UB history with 194 career steals.

PAINTING A NEW PICTURE
The Bulls are beginning to dominate the paint as of late and that is making head coach Felisha Legette-Jack very happy as UB has won or tied the scoring in the paint category in 17 of their last 18 games overall. Last time out, Buffalo was able to set a new program record for points scored in the paint as they recorded 66 points in the paint as they notched 33 of 36 field goals inside. The Bulls improved to 14-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 36.4 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 25.8 points/game down low.

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 17-4 start. The Bulls have now produced nine games, three in their last four games, of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The nine 80+ games are the most in a season overall by the Bulls since doing it 14 times during the 1996-97 season when UB was in the Mid-Continent Conference (Now called the Summit League). Earlier this season against EMU, the UB offense netted 97 points which are the most in a game since January 13, 1996 when UB posted 99 points in a win over Chicago State. The UB offense ranks 2nd in MAC contests in scoring as they are averaging 81.4 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 17-4 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 13th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.2) as three Bulls are averaging at least 2.0 assists/game so far this season. Reid leads UB averaging 7.2 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 8th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 4.8/game which ranks 8th in the MAC. Last time out, Buffalo notched 12 assists on 36 made field goals in the win at Toledo as Dillard led the way with four and Katherine Ups finished with three 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 eight games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in 18 of 21 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 22.9 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle three times through 21 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 8th in the NCAA forcing 22.9 turnovers/game while also forcing 25.3 turnovers/game at home this season. UB forced 16 Toledo turnovers last time out as they are one of two teams in the NCAA to force 20+ turnovers in at least 18 games this season (Auburn). The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in 12 of their last 13 games. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 481 total turnovers into 471 points (22.4/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 25-6 record when committing less turnovers than their opponents.

OURSLER BECOMES BULLS 3RD 1000-POINT SCORER
Senior center Cassie Oursler became the Bulls third 1,000 point scorer this season on Saturday afternoon as she netted 15 points at Toledo to give her exactly 1,000 career points. The Grand Island native has posted 755 career points for the blue and white after spending her freshman campaign at Robert Morris. Oursler joins Stephanie Reid and Cierra Dillard as the only trio in UB history to record their 1,000th career point in the same season, all coming within three weeks of one another. Reid recorded her 1,000th career point with a free throw that sealed the win over EMU in overtime earlier this season while 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 earlier this 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.

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 463 career games while combining to start 297 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 78 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 three more victories. Combined, these five seniors have played in 9,181 career minutes in the blue and white.

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 21 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 249-84 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, the Bulls held the slim 4-2 edge in fast break scoring as they downed the Rockets. The Bulls have now held five opponents without a fast break bucket and 10 opponents to two points or less in the fast break on the season. Buffalo has won the fast break scoring category in 17 of 21 games overall this season. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 46 of their 52 games including in 36 of their 39 victories. UB owned the 270-11 edge in fast break scoring a season ago.

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 Chippewas on Saturday and it resulted in a loss as Central Michigan shot 40.0% from the floor and UB shot just 34.1%. 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.

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 (37.9%). The stingy Buffalo defense has held four opponents this season to under 50 points while forcing an average of 22.9 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.

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 32.2 minutes, 11.1 points, 7.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 steals on the season while appearing in 17 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 8th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.2) and 23rd in steals/game (2.9). Buffalo owns a 14-3 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid netted 13 points, three rebounds and two assists as she didn't record three or more assists for the first time in her last 65 games for UB. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 592 helpers, ranking 6th amongst active players for career assists and 15th in MAC history. Reid will be looking to become just the 13th player in MAC history to go over 600 career assists. She has recorded 13 double digit assist efforts in her career and five this season while also joining Catherine Jacob (1995-99) as the only players in UB history to record 1000+ 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 have been on display all season long. The Rochester native is averaging 31.3 minutes, a team-high 15.7 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.1 steals while making a team-best 48 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Toledo, Dillard posted her fifth 20+ scoring effort in her last six games as she netted a team-high 21 points on 8-for-14 from the floor. She added four rebounds and a team-high four assists in the road 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 14th 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 21 games while notching three games with 6+ steals. Her defense has helped the Bulls get out in transition and score, leading to their 17-4 start to the season. Dillard has led UB in scoring a team-best 13 times while also going over the 20-point plateau a team-high seven times this season. When Dillard scores 20+ points, UB is 7-0 this 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.

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 she posted her second straight double-double and fourth of the season in the road win over Toledo. Hemphill was super effective on Saturday as she posted 18 points, 13 rebounds and three steals while coming down with five offensive rebounds and turning those into eight second chance points. The athletically gifted post player is averaging 24.9 minutes, 10.2 points, a team-best 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks while shooting a team-best 60.5% from the floor on the year. Hemphill ranks 2nd in the MAC and 12th in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year. In MAC games, Hemphill has been a beast as she is averaging 13.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.0 blocks while shooting 61.4% from the floor as UB is off to a 8-2 MAC start for the first time in program history.

OURSLER KEY TO BULLS 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 16 of 21 games this season. Last time out, Oursler was effective early on and scored her 1,000th career point as she finished the win over Toledo with 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks while shooting 46.6% from the floor and 77.8% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 8th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 47.4% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 122 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 13 straight games. She has also posted a career-best four double-doubles and a career-best two 20+ scoring efforts so far this season.

SUCHAN FINDING SUCCESS OFF THE UB BENCH
Senior forward Mariah Suchan has begun to flourish in her bench role for the Bulls of late. The Witchita, Kansas native has been averaging 12.9 minutes/game over the last nine games and the Bulls are 7-2 in those games. Last time out, Suchan came off the bench and provided Buffalo with eight points on 4-for-5 from the floor across 15 minutes as they downed Toledo. On the year, Suchan is averaging 11.8 minutes, 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds while notching a block in five straight games off the bench for UB.

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.