BUFFALO, NY – A great effort from the University at Buffalo women's basketball program came up just short, as the Bulls fell to the No. 8 ranked team in the nation Stanford, 62-55, despite a 21 point scoring effort from senior captain Cierra Dillard. The Bulls fall to 7-3 on the season while Stanford improves to 9-1.
Dillard led the Bulls with 21 points on Friday afternoon, a feat she has managed to complete in every game for the Bulls this season. The versatile scorer still leads the nation in scoring with 25.3 points per game, and has eclipsed the 20 point threshold in every contest this season.
Junior guard Theresa Onwuka also enjoyed a nice game for the Bulls, grabbing a season-high 13 rebounds on the day while adding five points, two assists and a steal to her stat line. The Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria native is enjoying a strong start to the season, averaging 10.9 points and 5.6 rebounds a game through the first 10 games.
Sophomore point guard and first-year starter Hanna Hall stepped up when called upon today, knocking down three 3 PT field goals on the afternoon as she finished with 11 total points. The 5-3 shooter also hauled in five rebounds against the Cardinal while adding two assists and a steal to her efforts.
As a team, the Bulls were able to shut one of the nation's best offenses down, allowing the Cardinal to put up a season-low 62 points in the game. Stanford had come into today's contest averaging 84.2 points per game, ranking them 13th in the nation. Additionally, the Bulls held Stanford to just five three pointers in the game, as the Cardinal shot the ball from deep at just a 25% clip (5-of-20). Stanford was averaging 41.6% from deep prior to today, good for eighth best in the country.
The difference in the game was Stanford's ability to score in the paint, besting UB 28-18 in that category. Additionally, the Bulls shot just 27.5% in the game and went 11-of-17 from the free throw line, compared to Stanford's field goal percentage of 39.0% while going 11-of-15 from the charity stripe.
The Bulls hung tight with No. 8 ranked Stanford from the start, and were only down 7-4 at the games first media timeout due to tough defense on both sides. With 8:50 left to play in the first half, Dillard would hit a three pointer that narrowed the Cardinal lead to just 16-14. However, two consecutive buckets on the next two possessions from Alana Smith would help bolt the Cardinal out to a 27-22 lead as the teams went into half.
In the fourth quarter, a well-timed three pointer from Hanna Hall, followed by a layup from Brittany Morrison and then another Dillard three pointer put the Bulls in striking range as they trailed just 43-41 with 7:32. On the next possession, All-American Senior Alanna Smith knocked down a three pointer at a critical spot, putting Stanford up 46-41.
The teams would exchange buckets, but layups from Nadia Fingall and Smith, followed by a 3-PT shot with 2:14 left to play that put Stanford up 57-47 would prove to be too much for the Bulls as they would fall 62-55.
Alanna Smith, one of the best players in the country, would finish her day with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bulls will look to rebound quickly as they are set to host the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure right back in Alumni Arena as they close out the non-conference portion of their schedule. It will be the 17th all-time meeting between the two programs.