Bulls Clash With Florida State On Monday With Trip To Sweet 16 On The Line

Bulls Clash With Florida State On Monday With Trip To Sweet 16 On The Line

FULL GAME NOTES (.PDF)

TALLAHASSEE, FL - After earning their first ever win in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (28-5, 16-2 MAC) will aim for a Sweet 16 bid as they clash with #3 Florida State on Monday night at 6:30 pm inside the Tucker Civic Center. Monday's game will air live on ESPN2 with Clay Matvick and Katie Smith on the call.

STORYLINES

  • After defeating #6 South Florida on Saturday, the Bulls will be making their first appearance in program history in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday night when they take on the host #3 Florida State Seminoles.
  • This marks the first meeting between the two programs in school history. Buffalo owns a 9-8 all-time series record against ACC schools.
  • Buffalo has posted a program record 28 wins and 16 MAC wins on the year. Of the Bulls 28 victories this season, 20 have been by double figures which is the most in school history.
  • UB has owned the fast break scoring category all season long as they have outscored their opponents 380-113 on the year. The Bulls have won the fast break scoring category 29 times this season and own a 26-3 record when they do so.
  • The 102 points scored in the first round win over USF marked the most points scored by a double digit seed in NCAA Tournament history. The Bulls also went over the 100-point plateau for the first time since December 21, 1995.
  • Junior Cierra Dillard had the best game of her career in the first round as she netted a career-best 36 points and six rebounds while connecting on a career-best seven three pointers. The 36 points tied for the most points scored in a NCAA Tournament game by a player in MAC history and also was the highest scoring total of any player in the first round of the tournament.
  • Junior Courtney Wilkins came off the bench on Saturday and poured in a career-high 23 points while going 7-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-8 from behind the arc. In two NCAA tournament games in her career, Wilkins is averaging 18.5 points with nine three pointers made.

#11 BULLS LOOK FOR ANOTHER UPSET VS. #3 FSU
After earning their first ever NCAA Tournament victory, the Bulls will return to the Tucker Civic Center on Monday night looking for their second straight upset as they take on the host #3 Florida State Seminoles. The Bulls and Seminoles will tip off at 6:30 pm with a spoit in the Sweet 16 on the line. Monday's game will air nationally on ESPN2 or it can be listened to on ESPN1520 AM as Matt Mattia and Paul Peck get your ready for action starting at 6:00 pm with the pregame show.

BULLS STUN #6 SOUTH FLORIDA
After a slow first quarter, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team was able to turn it on and collected their first ever NCAA Tournament game victory. The Bulls used a season-best 32 point second quarter to take the halftime lead and they never looked back. Junior Cierra Dillard was the catalyst for the Bulls as she netted a career-high 36 points, third most in a single game in program history, while going 11-for-18 from the floor and 7-for-13 from deep. Courtney Wilkins came off the bench and put up a career-high 23 points as she netted five three pointers while Stephanie Reid continued her steady play with 19 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals in the win. As a team, UB shot 53.2% while connecting on a season-high 14 three pointers in the win.

LETS DANCE
The 102-79 victory on Saturday afternoon marked the Bulls first ever win in the NCAA Tournament. Entering Saturday's game, the Bulls were 0-1 all-time in tournament games as they fell to Ohio State in 2016. Buffalo became just the second school in NCAA history to see both their men and women collect their first ever NCAA Tournament game victories in the same season, joining Georgia in 1996. Buffalo is also in search of their first ever Sweet 16 appearance and just the second in MAC history as Bowling Green advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2007 before falling to Arizona.

100 SPOT
In just their second ever NCAA Tournament game, the UB women's basketball team put on a show for the crowd in Tallahassee, FL as they scored a season-high 102 points in the win over South Florida. The 102 points marked the first time UB had gone over the century mark since December 21, 1995 and also marked a NCAA record for most points scored by a double digit seed in the NCAA Tournament in history. The Bulls put up a season-best 59 points in the second half en route to the upset victory.

MAC GETS A PAIR OF WINS IN FIRST ROUND
After the MAC earned multiple bids for the first time since 1996, the Buffalo Bulls and Central Michigan Chippewas made their fans happy on Saturday afternoon as both squads picked up first round upsets. CMU took down #6 LSU to move on to take on #3 Ohio State while UB downed #6 USF to move on to take on #3 Florida State. This marked just the second time and first time since 1996 that the MAC had two teams win their first round matchup in the same season.

DILLARD POURS IN 36 POINTS
In the biggest game of her basketball career, junior Cierra Dillard shined the brightest as she was able to net a career-high 36 points as she netted a career-best seven three pointers in the rout of USF. The 36 points for Dillard marked the most in UB history in a NCAA Tournament game and tied the MAC record for single game scoring for a player as Crystal Bradford (CMU) netted 36 points against Oklahoma in 2013.

NCAA EXPERIENCE
The Bulls currently have eight players on their roster that played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament while senior Cassie Oursler will be making her third appearance in the big dance after qualifying for the postseason tournament during her freshman campaign at Robert Morris. The Bulls have four of their starting five from their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance on their roster as Brittany Morrison, Cassie Oursler, Stephanie Reid and Katherine Ups all earned the start against Ohio State. UB sharpshooter Courtney Wilkins had a great first impression at the NCAA's as she finished off the loss to Ohio State with a season-high 14 points and six rebounds while netting four three pointers. The NCAA experience for the eight players should help this time around.

DILLARD & REID EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM NOD
After putting in a valiant effort throughout the MAC Tournament, the backcourt duo of Stephanie Reid and Cierra Dillard were honored with MAC All-Tournament team honors. Dillard closed out her weekend averaging 19.7 points, 6.7 assists, 5.0 steals and 4.7 rebounds while connecting on a team-best 12 three pointers as UB fell in the MAC Championship game. Reid earned the nod after averaging 16.3 points, 6.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals. Prior to the MAC Tournament Reid, Dillard and senior center Cassie Oursler were all named to the All-MAC second team.

BULLS SET PROGRAM RECORD FOR WINS
After picking up the win over USF on Saturday, the Bulls continue to add to their program record for wins in a season as they now have 28 victories through 33 games. The Bulls are currently 28-5 overall and finished the regular season 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.

ANOTHER 20-WIN SEASON
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.
 
MOST #MACTION WINS IN PROGRAM HISTORY
The Bulls were able to close out the regular season with nine straight MAC victories as they set the program record for conference wins with 16, going 16-2 overall. 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).

DYNAMIC DUO
The backcourt duo of senior Stephanie Reid and junior Cierra Dillard has been dynamic all season long and they continued to dazzle in the MAC Tournament. Reid and Dillard are the only pair of teammates in the country to average at least 7.0 assists (Reid) and 5.2 assists (Dillard). The Oregon duo of Sabrina Ionescu and Maite Cazorla are averaging 7.8 assists and 5.0 assists respectively. Reid's total of 204 assists ranks 2nd in program history for a single season while Dillard's 171 helpers ranks 7th for a single season.

THE CLIMB IS REAL
Winners of 12 of their last 13 games, the Bulls earned their highest RPI entering postseason play in program history as they ranked #22. UB also garnered some national attention as they received two votes in the latest USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, marking a program record eighth straight week UB has earned a vote. UB has posted 11 victories against teams ranked inside the top-100 in the RPI polls, downing them by an average of 13.4 points/game.

DEFENDING THE THREE POINT LINE
A focus of this Buffalo team has been defending the three-point shot and the Bulls have taken that to heart through 33 games this season. The Bulls rank 1st in the MAC and 9th in the NCAA in three-point field goal defense as they are allowing their opponents to shoot just 27.1% from behind the arc. UB is allowing just 5.4 made three-pointers made/game on 20.2 attempts/game. The Bulls have held 15 opponents to less that five three pointers made in a game this season including seven of their last 13. The Bulls have held 30 of their 33 opponents to under 40% from behind the arc this season. UB has held its last 12 opponents to 62-for-258 from behind the arc (24.0%). UB also leads the conference in three point defense across 18 conference games as they held their opponents to just 25.6% shooting from deep. Earlier this season, Buffalo held Clemson to no three pointers made, marking the first time that has happened at UB since November 14, 2015 when they held LIU Brooklyn to 0-for-14 from deep.

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 28 of their last 30 games and 29 times overall this season. Last time out, USF won the battle inside 38-22. 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 24-4 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 24.5 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 28-5 record. The Bulls have now produced a program record 17 games, 11 of their last 16, of 80+ points this season. The 17 games with 80+ points are the most in a season overall as the previous school record of 14 was 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 27 of their 33 games overall this season including in 19 of 21 games against MAC opponents, most in program history. The 102 points scored against USF are the most in a game since UB scored 103 against Wofford on December 21, 1995. The UB offense ranks 3rd in the MAC and 23rd in the NCAA in scoring as they are averaging 78.3 points/game.

CLEANING THE GLASS
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 15th in the NCAA in rebounds/game as they are averaging 42.6/game. The Bulls are also limiting their opponents to just 38.7 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 21-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle and just 5-4 when they are outrebounded by their opponents. UB has won the rebounding battle in 11 of their last 12 games, losing the only game they lost the rebounding battle in. In conference games, UB led the MAC as they are grabbed 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 averaged 8.7/game and Summer Hemphill averaged 8.7/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 28-5 season. UB currently ranks 1st in the MAC and ranks 10th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.4). Reid leads UB averaging 7.0 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 7th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 5.2 assists/game which ranks 4th in the MAC. During the three games at the MAC Tournament, UB averaged 16.7 assists/game while Cierra Dillard led UB averaging 6.7 helpers. So far this season, the Bulls have notched 11 games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in 29 of 33 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).

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 ranks 5th in the NCAA as they have produced a total of 397 steals on the year. UB is averaging 12.0 steals/game which ranks 8th in the NCAA and 1st in the MAC. Through three games at the MAC Tournament last weekend, UB averaged 16.3 steals/game as Cierra Dillard averaged a team-best 5.0 and Stephanie Reid averaged 2.7 thefts/game. The Bulls currently have four players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 2.9 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 16th in the NCAA. Dillard also broke the school record for steals in a season (96), a record that has stood since 1991-92. Senior Stephanie Reid is averaging 2.5 steals/game and ranks 6th in program history with 218 steals, just one steal shy of 5th all-time.

TURN IT ON OVER
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 33 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 18th 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 15 of their last 25 games and a total of 21 times this season. The UB defense forced an average of 22.7 turnovers/game at the MAC Tournament and scored an average of 30.3 points off of those turnovers. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 680 turnovers into 708 points (21.5/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 32-7 record when committing less turnovers than their opponents.

CREATING SECOND CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES
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 1st in the MAC and 20th in the NCAA in offensive rebounds/game as they are averaging 14.7/game on the season. Last time out, UB grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and turned those into 18 second chance points in the win over USF. In MAC games, UB turned up the attack on the offensive glass as they led the conference, averaging 15.2/game, two offensive rebounds more than 2nd place Eastern Michigan. Buffalo has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 30 of their 33 games this season and have snagged at least 20 on five occassions. Bulls take advantage of their offensive rebounds as they are averaging 14.7 second chance points per game on the year.

REID MOVING UP MAC ALL-TIME ASSISTS LIST
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 7.0 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 674 career helpers and sits in 8th place on the MAC's all-time charts.

ALL-TIME MAC ASSISTS LEADERS
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) - 678
8. Stephanie Reid (UB) - 674
9. Dana Drew (UT) - 659
10. Kelly Savage (UT) - 640

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 519 career games while combining to start 332 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 89 victories together and they are now the winningest senior class in UB program history. 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 10,242 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 33 games this season, the Bulls have dominated their opposition in the open court as they own a 380-113 edge in fast break scoring. The Bulls held the 10-4 edge in fast break scoring on Saturday against USF. The Bulls have now held eight opponents without a fast break bucket and 18 opponents to two points or less in the fast break on the season. Buffalo has won the fast break scoring category in 29 of 33 games overall this season and have won or tied the category in 17 straight games. UB owns the 26-3 overall record when winning the fast break category on the year. UB has scored in double figures in the fast break category 19 times overall. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 58 of their 64 games including in 47 of their 50 victories.

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 do this in their NCAA Tournament first round game against South Florida as they shot 53.2% from the floor and held the Bulls to 50.8%. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 56-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 23-0 this season when doing so. Over their last 13 games, the Bulls are shooting 45.9% while holding their opponents to just 36.5% from the floor.

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 three straight 20+ win seasons. Legette-Jack's goal for the team is to keep their opponent under 60 points as UB is 30-0 when doing so across the past two seasons. Buffalo has held a total of eight opponents under 50 points this season and 19 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 (37.1%) and 2nd in scoring defense (64.7 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has forced an average of 20.6 turnovers/game. Over the last three seasons, UB is 64-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 30-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 19-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

LOPSIDED VICTORIES
The Bulls have posted 20 victories this season by double digits including a 23-point win over USF in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Each of the last eight UB wins have been by double digits. 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 13 games this season by at least 20 points as they are outscoring opponents by an average of 13.6 points/game overall this season. Buffalo has also scored at least 80 points in 14 of their 28 wins this season, more than the last three years combined, and have scored at least 70 points in 16 of their 18 wins against MAC opponents. In the Bulls 18 MAC victories, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 16.6 points/game.

REID ALL ABOUT IT
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 31.6 minutes, 12.0 points, 7.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals on the season while appearing in 29 games. Reid currently ranks 7th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.0) and 15th in assist/turnover margin (2.8). Buffalo owns a 25-4 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid posted 19 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals as the Bulls downed USF. Reid also earned MAC All-Tournament team honors after averaging 16.3 points, 6.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals during the MAC Tournament as UB fell just short of the championship. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 674 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 8th in MAC history in helpers. She has recorded a program record 15 double digit assist efforts in her career and seven 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, for the third straight season, prior to the MAC Tournament.

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 31.0 minutes, a team-high 15.6 points, 5.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 steals while making a team-best 80 three-pointers on the year. Dillard was on another level on Saturday in her first career NCAA Tournament game as she netted a career-best 36 points and six rebounds as she drained seven three pointers in the win. During the MAC Tournament as she capped her great weekend with a great performance. In the MAC Championship against Central Michigan, she notched her second career double-double as she went for 26 points, 10 assists and four steals while committing no turnovers. The junior finished off the game with a season-high five three pointers while also going 9-for-10 from the charity stripe as she earned All-Tournament team honors. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 5.2 dimes/game while also ranking 20th in the NCAA in steals/game (2.9). 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 31 of 33 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 28-5 start to the season. Dillard has led UB in scoring a team-best 17 times while also going over the 20-point plateau a team-high nine times this season. When Dillard scores 20+ points, UB is 8-1 this season. The junior also earned Second Team All-MAC accolades following her strong regular season for UB.

CENTER OF ATTENTION
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 33 games this season. The senior made her third appearance in the NCAA Tournament Saturday and produced six points, three rebounds and two blocks. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 12.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks while shooting 49.8% from the floor and 81.6% 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 144 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 29 of 33 games this season. Oursler has also posted a career-best eight double-doubles and a career-best four 20+ scoring efforts so far this season. She also earned Second Team All-MAC honors for the first time in her career.

SUMMERTIME
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 10 of her last 15 games. The sophomore was able to notch eight points, five rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes of work on Saturday against USF. Earlier this season, 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 25.8 minutes, 10.0 points, a team-best 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting a team-best 57.5% from the floor on the year. In MAC games this season, Hemphill averaged 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 their highest seed ever (No. 11) for the NCAA Tournament.

WILKINS LOVES THE BIG STAGE
Junior sharpshooter Courtney Wilkins has had two of her best games in her career in her two NCAA Tournament games. The Australia native is averaging 18.5 points across a pair of NCAA Tournament games while connecting on nine three pointers. Wilkins had a career day on Saturday in the Bulls win over #6 USF as she netted a career-high 23 points on 5-for-8 from behind the arc off the bench. In the 2016 loss at Ohio State, Wilkins netted 14 points and made four threes.