Bulls Look For Third Straight Win On Saturday At Miami (OH)

Bulls Look For Third Straight Win On Saturday At Miami (OH)

FULL GAME NOTES (.PDF)

BUFFALO, NY - Coming off their most lopsided victory in over eight seasons, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (18-4, 9-2 MAC) hits the road for a tough test against MAC East foe Miami (OH) on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm at Millett Hall. The RedHawks (15-8, 7-5 MAC) have won five straight games including a win over Toledo on Wednesday night. Saturday's game will air live on ESPN3 or can be listened to on ESPN1520 starting at 12:30 pm as Matt Mattia will get you started with the UB Women's Basketball Pre-game show.

STORYLINE

  • The Bulls will look to add to their program best 18-4 start overall and 9-2 MAC mark as they head to Miami on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm. Buffalo has won seven of their last eight games overall while averaging 81.1 points over that span.
  • This marks the 38th meeting of all-time between the Bulls and RedHawks with Miami owning the 20-17 edge in the series. The Bulls have won eight of the last 10 against Miami (OH) meetings including the game earlier this season in Buffalo, 72-67.
  • 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.
  • As a team, the Bulls rank 12th in the NCAA is assists/game as they are averaging 18.4 helpers per game. Last time out, UB recorded 21 assists on 30 made field goals as they now have nine games this season with 20+ assists.
  • Senior point guard Stephanie Reid recorded her 600th career assist on Wednesday as she is now the 13th player in MAC history to record at least 600 helpers.
  • The Buffalo defense held Kent State to 42 points on Wednesday, marking the fifth time this season UB has held their opponent to under 50 points scored. The Bulls are now 12-0 this season when their defense holds the opponent to under 70 points scored.
  • The potent Buffalo offense has scored 80+ points in four of their last five games and they have now scored over 80 points 10 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 HEAD TO OXFORD TO TAKE ON RED HOT REDHAWKS
After earning a 38-point victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes on Wednesday night, UB will make the trip to Oxford, OH to try and sweep the regular season series from the Miami RedHawks. Buffalo enters with a 18-4 overall record and a 9-2 MAC mark as they have won two straight contests while the RedHawks have won five straight as they own a 15-8 overall record and a 7-5 MAC mark. Saturday afternoons game will air live on ESPN3 at 1:00 pm. You can also listen in on the radio on ESPN1520 with Matt Mattia on the call starting at 12:30 pm with the UB women's basketball pregame show.

BUFFALO BLOWS OUT KENT STATE
Last time out, the Buffalo defense was able to get back on track as UB cruised to a 80-42 victory over Kent State at Alumni Arena. The 38-point victory for the Bulls was their biggest margin of victory over an opponent since 2009. The UB defense was the story on Wednesday as they were able to hold the Golden Flashes to just 21.0% shooting from the floor and just 5.9% from behind the arc. Senior center Cassie Oursler led the way for the Bulls as she netted 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the win. Off the bench, freshman Hanna Hall exploded for UB as she netted a career-high 12 points and three assists on 4-for-4 freom the floor and 2-for-2 from behind the arc. Buffalo also posted the 51-39 edge in rebounding and the 40-20 lead in scoring in the paint in their 18th win of the season.

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. Buffalo has also notched 18+ victories in each of the last four seasons.

LOPSIDED VICTORIES
The Bulls have posted 12 victories this season by double digits including a 38-point victory last time out, the most lopsided victory for UB since December 13, 2009 when they downed Youngstown State 92-38. The Bulls also have seven wins this season by at least 20 points as they are outscoring opponents by an average of 11.0 points/game this season. Buffalo has also scored at least 80 points in nine of their 18 wins this season, more than the last three years combined. In the Bulls nine MAC victories, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 14.4 points/game.

REWRITING THE HISTORY BOOK
The Bulls have put together a historic start to their 2017-18 campaign as they currently own a 18-4 overall record and a 9-2 MAC mark. The 18-4 start to the season is the best start in the programs division I history as they also started the 1996-97 campaign 18-4. The Bulls 9-2 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, Eastern Michigan and Kent State by an average of 14.4 points/game while outscoring all opponents this season by an average of 11.0 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 two 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 another MAC victory over Kent State on Wednesday night, 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, 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 #21 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 10 wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-130 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Ball State (#43), Nebraska (#58),  St. John's (#59), Toledo (twice) (#63), Ohio (#78), Miami (OH) (#89), UNLV (#91), Western Michigan (#107) and Delaware (#130). 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 5TH 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 13.3 steals/game which leads the MAC and ranks 5th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo was held to a season-low five steals in the blowout victory over Kent State as they grabbed only five steals led by Stephanie Reid with two. The Bulls currently have six players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 3.0 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 18th in the NCAA. Senior Stephanie Reid currently ranks 2nd in the MAC in steals/game in conference games as she is averaging 3.2 thefts and currently ranks 10th in UB history with 196 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 18 of their last 19 games overall. Last time out, the Bulls won the battle inside as they outscored Kent State 40-20 down low, led by center Cassie Oursler who netted 19 points, most of which in the paint. In the Bulls road win at Toledo last weekend, UB was able to set a new program record as they scored 66 points in the paint, scoreing 33 of their 36 field goals inside. The Bulls are now 15-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 36.8 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 25.2 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 18-4 start. The Bulls have now produced 10 games, four in their last five, of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The 10 games with 80+ points 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 81.3 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 18-4 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 12th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.4) 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 6th in the MAC. Last time out, Buffalo had a great day sharing the ball as they notched 21 assists on 30 made field goals in the win over Kent State. 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 nine games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in 19 of 22 games overall, 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 22.5 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle three times through 22 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 9th in the NCAA forcing 22.5 turnovers/game while also forcing 24.8 turnovers/game at home this season. UB forced 14 Kent Stater 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 14 games. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 495 total turnovers into 484 points (22.0/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 26-6 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 468 career games while combining to start 300 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 79 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 two more victories. Combined, these five seniors have played in 9,256 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 22 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 261-84 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, Buffalo was able to blank the Golden Flashes, 12-0, in the open court. The Bulls have now held six opponents without a fast break bucket and 11 opponents to two points or less in the fast break on the season. Buffalo has won the fast break scoring category in 18 of 22 games overall this season. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 47 of their 53 games including in 37 of their 40 victories. UB owned the 270-111 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 was able to shoot a higher percentage on Wednesday and it resulted in a win. UB shot 46.9% from the floor while Kent State shot just 21.0%. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 47-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 13-0 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 24-0 when doing so across the past two seasons. Buffalo was able to hit this goal last time out as they downed Kent State 80-42, the fifth opponent they have held under 50 points this season. 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 (37.1%) and 2nd in scoring defense (65.7 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has forced an average of 22.5 turnovers/game. Over the last three seasons, UB is 57-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 24-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 12-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

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 774 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.

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 31.8 minutes, 11.0 points, 7.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals on the season while appearing in 18 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 8th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.2), 26th in steals/game (2.8) and 27th in assist/turnover ratio (2.6). Buffalo owns a 15-3 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid netted nine points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes of work. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 600 helpers, ranking 6th amongst active players for career assists as she became the 13th player in MAC history to record her 600th assist. She has recorded 13 double digit assist efforts in her career and five this season while becoming the first player in UB history to notch 1,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds in their career.

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 17 of 22 games this season. Last time out, Oursler was a monster down low for the Bulls as she notched 19 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and one block while going 8-for-12 from the floor in the win over Kent State. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks while shooting 47.5% from the floor and 78.9% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 8th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 47.8% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 123 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 14 straight games. She has also posted a career-best five double-doubles and a career-best two 20+ scoring efforts so far this season.

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 30.9 minutes, a team-high 15.4 points, 4.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 steals while making a team-best 50 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Kent State, Dillard wasn't asked to score as much as usual as she contributed 10 points, six assists and two rebounds in just 22 minutes of work as UB blew out the Golden Flashes. 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 18th in the NCAA in steals/game (3.0). 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 21 of 22 games this season while notching three games with 6+ steals. Her defense has helped the Bulls get out in transition and score, leading to their 18-4 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 has posted two double-doubles in her last three games. Hemphill was effective once again on Wednesday as she closed out her night with 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes of work while going 6-for-9 from the floor. The athletically gifted post player is averaging 24.9 minutes, 10.3 points, a team-best 7.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks while shooting a team-best 60.9% 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 12.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks while shooting 61.9% from the floor as UB is off to a 9-2 MAC start for the first time in program history.

HALL PASS
After the Buffalo starters raced out to a big lead on Wednesday night against Kent State, the UB bench was able to get some valuable playing time. Freshman point guard Hanna Hall made the most of her time in front of the home fans as she was able to light up the Golden Flashes for 12 points in 10 minutes of action. The freshman was able to connect on all four of her field goal attempts including a pair from behind the arc while also going 2-for-2 at the charity stripe. Hall also chipped in with three assists and a steal as she was subbed out in the final minute to a standing ovation at Alumni Arena. Hall looks like the heir apparent to Stephanie Reid at the point for UB as she has earned two starts and appeared in 16 games for UB so far this season as she ranks fifth on the squad with 23 assists.

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.