BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (20-4, 11-2 MAC) used a clean second half to upend the Central Michigan Chippewas on Wednesday night inside Alumni Arena, a team that was previously unbeaten in MAC play. With the win, Buffalo has now collected three straight 20-win seasons for the first time since doing so from 1994-97.
The Bulls were led offensively by senior center Cassie Oursler who was able to record her third straight double-double as she finished with a team-high 24 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Oursler was able to go 11-for-18 from the floor while also grabbing a season-high seven offensive rebounds.
Buffalo trailed the Chippewas 72-70 midway through the final quarter before Oursler drilled a jumper to tie the game and Cierra Dillard knocked down a three pointer to give the Bulls the 75-72 edge, a lead the Bulls never gave up. The visitors cut the UB lead to two, 77-75, with just over a minute to go before Dillard found Summer Hemphill on a lob and layup to give Buffalo the 79-75 lead with under a minute to play. With nine seconds left, Stephanie Reid made the front end of two free throws before missing the second and Oursler grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. Oursler made both free throws to give UB the 84-79 lead and eventual win.
After exchanging some buckets early on, the Bulls were able to take their biggest lead of the quarter midway through as they went on a 8-0 that saw Summer Hemphill record back-to-back layups, making the score 14-7 in favor of the Bulls. The Chippewas got back within two, 14-12, as they scored five quick points. Autumn Jones gave Buffalo the 19-14 lead with just over two minutes left as she drilled a corner triple. The Chippewas closed out the quarter on a 7-2 run as the teams went to the second quarter tied, 21-21.
The second quarter was another tightly contested one as neither team was able to build a lead bigger than five points. With the score knotted, 25-25, Katherine Ups was able to drain a triple to give UB the three point lead before the Chippewas regained the 31-30 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the half. Buffalo then went on a 10-4 run to take their biggest lead of the quarter, 40-35, as Cierra Dillard finished off a layup and free throw. After back-to-back buckets by the Chippewas, Hemphill connected on the first three pointer of her career to make the score 43-39 in favor of the Bulls. Central Michigan finished the half strong as they notched a layup at the buzzer to take the 48-46 lead into the locker room.
The Chippewas were able to run out to the six point lead, 56-50, as Tinara Moore finished off a layup in the lane just over three minutes into the quarter. The Bulls wouldn't let the Chippewas get any further away as Cassie Oursler made back-to-back jumpers to tie the game, 60-60. Central Michigan was able to grab an offensive rebound and hit a prayer of a jumper at the buzzer to give the visitors the 62-60 lead through three quarters.
Buffalo saw a pair of players score 20+ points on Wednesday night for the second time this year as Oursler led the Bulls with 24 points and Reid finished off her night with a near triple-double with 20 points, eight assists and eight rebounds across 38 minutes. Dillard continued her strong play as she notched 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds while Hemphill netted 15 points and four rebounds in the win. Off the bench, Autumn Jones chipped in with seven points in 16 minutes of work.
As a team, the Bulls outscored the Chippewas 46-36 inside the paint while also winning the rebounding battle, 39-36. UB had a clean second half as they only turned the ball over once across the final 20 minutes and just twice across the final 30 minutes of play.
With the win, Buffalo is now 9-0 at home, their second best start to their home slate since starting the 1998-99 season out 10-0. The Bulls also scored over 80 points for the 11th time this season, second most in a season in program history.
Buffalo will stay at home on Saturday afternoon as they welcome the Akron Zips to Alumni Arena for a MAC east showdown at 1:00 pm.