Women's Hoops Set To Tangle With Kent State In MAC Quarterfinals On Wednesday

Women's Hoops Set To Tangle With Kent State In MAC Quarterfinals On Wednesday



CLEVELAND, OH - Closing the regular season on a nine-game winning streak and unbeaten mark at home, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (25-4, 16-2 MAC) will open up their 2018 MAC Tournament on Wednesday evening as they take on #10 Kent State inside Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. Buffalo claimed the MAC East regular season crown and earned the #2 seed while the Golden Flashes upset #7 Toledo on Monday on the road to move onto the quarterfinals and take on the Bulls on Wednesday.

Wednesday's quarterfinal will be the third game of the afternoon and should tip around 5:00 pm on ESPN3. You can also listen to the game on the radio on ESPN1520 or on the tunein app starting at 4:30 pm as Matt Mattia and Paul Peck will get you started for action with the UB women's basketball pregame show.


  • Buffalo enters the MAC quarterfinals on Wednesday evening on a nine-game winning streak as they will take on #10 Kent State for the third time this season. UB has won the previous two meetings this season by an average of 34.0 points/game.
  • This marks the 31st meeting of all-time between the two programs with both teams winning 15 games. The Bulls have owned the series of late, winning 12 of the last 13 including two this season.
  • Buffalo keeps adding to their program record for wins in a season as they currently have 25 victories, two more than the previous school record that stood since 1991-92.
  • UB placed a program record three players, Stephanie Reid, Cassie Oursler and Cierra Dillard, on the Second Team All-MAC as announced on Tuesday. Prior to this season, UB never had more than one second team member.
  • The Buffalo offense has put up 14 games this season of 80+ points, tying the school record that was set in 1996-97 for 80+ scoring games in a season. The UB offense has also scored 70+ points in 16 of their 18 MAC games this season, most in school history.
  • Buffalo currently sits at #19 in the latest RPI poll, marking the highest ranking the Bulls have ever received this late in the season. UB is also the highest ranked mid-major program in the country.
  • The 16 MAC wins so far this season for the Bulls are the most in program history. UB has now notched at least 10 MAC victories in four of the last five seasons under Coach Jack. Prior to Coach Jack taking over, the Bulls only produced one season with 10 MAC wins, 2000-01.

Riding a nine-game winning streak, the UB women's basketball team will open up the 2018 MAC Tournament on Wednesday evening against #10 Kent State after the Flashes upset #7 Toledo in the opening round on Monday in overtime. The Bulls put together a historic regular season that saw them go 25-4 overall and 16-2 in MAC play, both school records, while the Flashes enter with a 13-18 overall record and a 5-13 MAC mark. These two squads met a week ago with UB taking the dominant 81-51 victory over the Golden Flashes in Kent State. Wednesday's game will air live on ESPN3 and will be the third game of the afternoon, starting at approximately 5:00 pm. You can also listen in on the radio on ESPN1520 as Matt Mattia will get you started for action with the UB women's basketball pregame show starting around 4:30 pm.

The Bulls look poised and ready to begin postseason play as they were able to close the regular season on a high note on Saturday afternoon inside Alumni Arena. The Bulls completely dominated the Bowling Green Falcons 74-38 in front of a packed crowd on Senior Day for five UB players. The Bulls owned the Falcons from the opening tip on as Autumn Jones came off the bench and led UB in scoring with 13 points while Cassie Oursler contributed with 12 points, five rebounds and four blocks in the win. As a team, UB shot 46.9% from the floor while holding the Falcons to just 24.2% shooting. UB forced 25 BG turnovers and they turned those into 28 points while UB owned the fast break scoring category once again, 22-2. Following the Bulls ninth straight win, the team celebrated the final home game for their winningest senior class in program history.

This will mark the 31st meeting of all-time between the two teams with both teams winning 15 games. Buffalo has had their way with the Flashes of late, winning 12 of the last 13 games. UB has won both meetings this year against Kent State by an average of 34.0 points/game. The Bulls downed the flashes 80-42 in Buffalo and 81-51 in Kent last week.

As announced on Tuesday morning, the Bulls had three players earn All-MAC honors for the second straight season as Stephanie Reid, Cierra Dillard and Cassie Oursler each earned the Second Team All-MAC nod. Reid also earned a spot on the All-Defensive team for the third straight season.

This marks the fourth straight season the Bulls have made it to the Mid-American Conference quarterfinals in Cleveland and the first time they had a bye to the quarterfinal round since 2015 when UB earned the #4 seed. The Bulls enter this MAC Tournament as the #2 seed this season, highest in program history, after posting a program record 25-4 overall record and a 16-2 MAC mark. Buffalo enters this conference tournament with a chip on their shoulder after falling in the MAC semifinals a season ago to Toledo and being left out of postseason play.

With their regular season finale victory over Bowling Green, the Bulls were able to lock up the #2 seed for the upcoming MAC Tournament in Cleveland. The Bulls will be taking on #10 Kent State in the MAC quarterfinals, looking to secure a berth to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons. In the latest ESPN Bracketology released on Monday morning, the Bulls were the #9 seed and would take on #8 Michigan in Storrs, CT.

With their decisive victory over Bowling Green on Senior Day, the Bulls were able to add to their program record wins total as they have now notched 25 victories. The Bulls are currently 25-4 overall and 16-2 in MAC play as they have now set the record for most wins and most MAC wins in a season in school history. The previous school record of 23 wins was set during the 1995-96 campaign when the Bulls were part of the Mid-Continent Conference (now the Summit League) and during the 1991-92 season when the Bulls were in the East Coast Conference. UB also tied the school record for road wins in a season with 10 and capped their first unbeaten home season in division I history as they went 12-0 at Alumni Arena.

The wins continue to pile up for the Bulls of late as Buffalo has secured their third straight season with 20+ wins for just the second time in program history as they also did so from 1994-97, their first three seasons in division I. Buffalo has also now posted five straight 17+ win seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, marking the first time this has happened in program history. 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 and Ball State are the only MAC teams who currently have recorded five straight seasons with 17+ wins. The Bulls are currently the only MAC team to win 19+ games in four straight seasons.
With their win over Bowling Green on Saturday, the Bulls continue to add to their program record for MAC victories as they have now secured 16 conference wins for the first time in program history. Prior to this season, the most MAC wins the Bulls ever produced in a season was 11 which they recorded in 2014-15. UB has now notched four seasons with at least 10 MAC victories under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. Prior to Coach Jack taking over the Bulls, Buffalo saw just one season with 10 MAC victories, 2000-01. UB finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record against MAC East foes while beating them by an average of 20.3 points/game. Overall in MAC games this season, Buffalo ranks 3rd in points/game (80.1 PPG).

After winning nine straight games to finish the regular season, the UB women's basketball team checks in at #19 in the latest RPI poll released by the NCAA on Tuesday. This marks the highest ranking ever by UB this late in the season and is also the highest ranking of any mid-major program. UB also garnered some national attention as they received a program-record seven votes in the latest USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, marking a program record seventh straight week UB has earned a vote. UB has posted 13 wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-115 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Central Michigan (#20), Ball State (#34), Nebraska (#59), Toledo (twice) (#71), St. John's (#72), Miami (OH) (twice) (#83), UNLV (#87), Ohio twice (#100), Western Michigan (#104), and Delaware (#114). The Bulls average margin of victory over the 11 teams they defeated in the top-100 of the RPI poll is 10.6 points/game.

A focus of this Buffalo team has been defending the three-point shot and the Bulls have taken that to heart through 29 games this season. The Bulls rank 1st in the MAC and 4th in the NCAA in three-point field goal defense as they are allowing their opponents to shoot just 26.4% from behind the arc. UB is allowing just 5.3 made three-pointers made/game on 20.3 attempts/game. The Bulls have held 13 opponents to less that five three pointers made in a game this season including five of their last nine. The Bulls have held 27 of their 29 opponents to under 40% from behind the arc this season. UB has held its last six opponents to 34-for-167 from behind the arc (20.3%). UB also leads the conference in three point defense across 18 conference games as they are holding their opponents to just 25.6% shooting from deep. Last game, the UB defense held Bowling Green to just 3-for-27 from behind the arc. Earlier this season, Buffalo held Clemson to no three pointers, marking the first time that has happened since November 14, 2015 when they held LIU Brooklyn to 0-for-14 from deep.

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 25 of their last 26 games and 26 times overall this season. Last time out, Buffalo was able to claim the 42-24 edge in scoring in the paint as they earned the win over Bowling Green. In the Bulls road win at Toledo earlier this year, UB was able to set a new program record as they scored 66 points in the paint, scoring 33 of their 36 field goals inside the painted area. The Bulls are now 22-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 37.6 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 25.0 points/game down low.

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 25-4 start. The Bulls have now produced 14 games, eight of their last 12, of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The 14 games with 80+ points are the most in a season overall as they tied the program record set by the 1996-97 squad when UB was in the Mid-Continent Conference (Now called the Summit League). UB has also scored at least 70 points in 23 of their 29 games this season including in 16 of 18 MAC games, most in program history. 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 80.1 points/game.

One of the keys to the Bulls success this season has been their ability to rebound the basketball. The Bulls currently rank 1st in the MAC and 10th in the NCAA in rebounds/game as they are averaging 43.3/game. The Bulls are also limiting their opponents to just 39.1 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 18-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle and just 5-3 when they are outrebounded by their opponents. UB has won the rebounding battle in eight of their last nine games. In conference games, UB leads the MAC as they are grabbing an average 44.8 rebounds/game. Buffalo currently has two players ranked inside the top-5 in the MAC in rebounds in conference games as Cassie Oursler is averaging 8.7/game and Summer Hemphill is averaging 8.7/game.

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 25-4 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 10th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.7) as UB and Oregon are the only two teams in the nation to have a player averaging at least 7.0 APG (Stephanie Reid) and another averaging at least 4.0 APG (Cierra Dillard) this season. Reid leads UB averaging 7.1 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 7th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 5.1 assists/game which ranks 6th in the MAC. Last time out, Buffalo was able to record 19 assists on 30 made field goals in the win over Bowling Green as nine different players recorded at least one helper. So far this season, the Bulls have notched 11 games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in 25 of 29 games overall, proving that team work and sharing the ball equate to victories on the court. 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 (assisting on 97% of FG's).

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 11.8 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 9th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo was able to notch 15 steals as Stephanie Reid led the way with five thefts in the big win over Bowling Green. The Bulls currently have four players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 2.8 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 27th in the NCAA. Senior Stephanie Reid currently ranks 2nd in the MAC in steals/game in conference games as she is averaging 2.6 thefts and currently ranks 8th in UB history with 208 career steals.

The pesky Buffalo defense has been able to force an average of 20.6 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle six times through 29 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 19th in the NCAA forcing 20.6 turnovers/game while also forcing 21.8 turnovers/game at home this season. The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in 13 of their last 21 games. Last time out, the Bulls were able to force 25 Bowling Green turnovers and they turned those into 28 points. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 598 total turnovers into 590 points (20.3/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 29-6 record when committing less turnovers than their opponents.

Buffalo has improved all season long on the offensive glass and they are proving to be one of the best in the country of late. The Bulls are currently 2nd in the MAC and 28th in the NCAA in offensive rebounds/game as they are averaging 14.8/game on the season. Last time out, UB was only able to grab 10 offensive rebounds but they turned those into 15 second chance points. In MAC games, UB has turned up the attack on the offensive glass as they are leading the conference, averaging 15.2/game, two offensive rebounds more than 2nd place Eastern Michigan. Buffalo has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 26 of their 29 games this season and have snagged at least 20 on five occassions. Bulls take advantage of their offensive rebounds as they are averaging 14.0 second chance points per game on the year.

Senior point guard Stephanie Reid continues to rack up assists at a high clip as she currently ranks 2nd in the conference and 7th in the NCAA averaging 7.1 helpers/game. The Senior recently became the Bulls all-time leader in assists and is the first UB player and 13th player in MAC history to go over the 600 assist plateau, as she currently has 648 career helpers and sits in 9th place on the MAC's all-time charts.

1.     Marti Heckman (Ohio) - 810
2. Michelle Burden (KSU) - 798
3. Naama Shafir (UT) - 722
4. Tracy Wells (WMU) - 699
5. Kacie Cassell (Akron) - 688
6. Kate Achter (BG) - 688
7. Carmen Grande (BSU) - 675
8. Dana Drew (UT) - 659
9. Stephanie Reid (UB) - 648
10. Kelly Savage (UT) - 640
11. Heather Smith (UT) - 634
12. Shala Crook (BSU) - 628
13. Maria Jilian (WMU) - 625

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 500 career games while combining to start 320 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 86 victories together and they are now the winningest senior class since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1998-99. This senior class is the first in the Bulls division I history to record three straight 20-win seasons. These seniors have had great success inside Alumni Arena over their great careers as they own a 42-13 (.764) record in front of the home fans, best winning percentage at home by any senior class in school history. Combined, these five seniors have played in 9,888 career minutes in the blue and white.

Senior guard Katherine Ups received some academic recognition for the first time in her UB career on last week as she was named to the CoSIDA First Team Academic All-Region squad. Ups, a biomedical sciences major with a 3.92 GPA, becomes the first UB player since 2000-01 to earn First Team All-Region honors. She is one of just five MAC student-athletes to be honored with the recognition. On the court, Ups is having her best offensive season as she is averaging 7.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists while starting 28 games for the Bulls as they own a 25-4 overall record on the season.

The UB bench has begun to get more run of late and have continued to produce as they have recorded five straight games with at least 25 bench points scored, all wins for UB. On the year, the UB bench is averaging 22.3 points/game as all nine bench players have played in at least 15 games this season. Last time out, the UB bench had a great game as they outscored Bowling Green's bench 40-14 for the game. When the Bulls win the bench scoring battle this season, they own a 17-2 record.

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 29 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 332-107 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, Buffalo owed the open court against Bowling Green as they outscored the Falcons 22-2 in the fast break. The Bulls have now held six opponents without a fast break bucket and 15 opponents to two points or less in the fast break on the season. Buffalo has won the fast break scoring category in 25 of 29 games overall this season and have won or tied the category in 13 straight games. UB improved to 23-2 when winning this category on Saturday. UB has scored in double figures in the fast break category 16 times overall. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 54 of their 60 games including in 44 of their 47 victories.

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 had another strong effort shooting the ball on Saturday as they outshot the Falcons 46.9% to 24.2% in the win. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 53-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 20-0 this season when doing so. Over their current nine game winning streak, UB is shooting 46.8% from the field while holding their opponents to just 34.2% from the floor.

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 three straight 20+ win seasons. Legette-Jack's goal for the team is to keep their opponent under 60 points as UB is 28-0 when doing so across the past two seasons. Buffalo has held a total of eight opponents under 50 points this season and 17 opponents under 70 points on the year. 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 (36.5%) and 2nd in scoring defense (64.0 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has forced an average of 20.6 turnovers/game. Over the last three seasons, UB is 62-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 28-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 17-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

The Bulls have posted 17 victories this season by double digits including a 36-point victory over Bowling Green last time out. Buffalo has posted five straight wins by double digits heading into the MAC Tournament. The Bulls earned their most lopsided victory since December 13, 2009 earlier this season as they defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes by 38, 80-42. The Bulls also have won 10 games this season by at least 20 points as they are outscoring opponents by an average of 13.0 points/game overall this season. Buffalo has also scored at least 80 points in 12 of their 25 wins this season, more than the last three years combined, and have scored at least 70 points in 14 of their 16 MAC wins. In the Bulls 16 MAC victories, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 16.7 points/game.

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 this season as she is averaging 31.4 minutes, 11.2 points, 7.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals on the season while appearing in 25 games. Reid currently ranks 7th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.1) and 16th in assist/turnover margin (2.8). Buffalo owns a 22-3 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. In her final game at Alumni Arena, Reid wasn't asked to play much but was able to post seven points, seven assists, five steals and two rebounds as UB crushed Bowling Green. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 648 helpers, ranking 6th amongst active players for career assists. Earlier this season she became just the 13th player in MAC history to record her 600th assist as she currently ranks 9th in MAC history in helpers. She has recorded a program record 14 double digit assist efforts in her career and six this season while becoming the first player in UB history and just one of three current players in the NCAA to notch over 1,100 points, 600 assists, 300 rebounds and 200 steals in her career. She also was named Second Team All-MAC and All-Defensive team on Tuesday.

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 24 of 29 games this season. Last time out, Oursler was one of two Bulls to score in double figures as she netted 12 points, five rebounds and four blocks in the win over BG. During the Bulls nine game winning streak, she is averaging a team-best 15.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 59.0% from the floor and 95.0% from the free throw line. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and a team-best 2.0 blocks while shooting 50.0% from the floor and 82.2% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 6th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 48.8% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 141 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 21 straight games. She has also posted a career-best eight double-doubles and a career-best four 20+ scoring efforts so far this season. Oursler's been named MAC East division Player of the Week two times this season, most in her career.

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 30.4 minutes, a team-high 14.5 points, 5.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals while making a team-best 61 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Bowling Green she finished with seven points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals as she only played 23 minutes in the blowout win over the Falcons. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 5.1 dimes/game while also ranking 26th in the NCAA in steals/game (2.8). 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 27 of 29 games this season while notching a career-high seven steals against Toledo earlier this year. Her defense has helped the Bulls get out in transition and score, leading to their 25-4 start to the season. Dillard has led UB in scoring a team-best 14 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, tied for most of any player in the east. Dillard has also been named UB Athlete of the Week six times this season.

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 scored in double figures in nine of her last 11 games. Hemphill had a quiet game on Saturday in the regular season finale as she netted just two points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Just over a week ago, the sophomore set a Buffalo division I record as she grabbed 23 rebounds in the win over ohio. The athletically gifted post player is averaging a career-high 25.9 minutes, 10.3 points, a team-best 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting a team-best 58.8% from the floor on the year. Hemphill ranks 2nd in the MAC and 19th in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year. In MAC games, Hemphill has been a beast as she is averaging 11.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.7 steals while shooting 58.6% from the floor as UB posted their best ever MAC record, 16-2, and claimed the #2 seed for the MAC Tournament.

Junior shooting guard Autumn Jones has begun to hit her stride offensively down the stretch for the Bulls and that has helped UB secure a nine-game winning streak enter the conference tournament. The electrifying bench player has scored in double figures in three straight and four of the last five for the Bulls as she is finding her stroke. Last time out, Jones led the Bulls with 13 points on 5-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-5 from deep as UB downed BG. Jones had made a big impact so far this season as she is averaging 6.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals across an average of 16.1 minutes/game off the pine. Jones has scored in double figures nine time this season and the Bulls own a 8-1 record when she does so.