Bulls Set For Big-4 Showdown Against St. Bonaventure Sunday

Bulls Set For Big-4 Showdown Against St. Bonaventure Sunday

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (7-3, 0-0 MAC) will play its second game in three days at Alumni Area for for a Big-4 showdown against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. The contest marks the 17th meeting all-time between the Big-4 rivals, with the Bonnies leading the series 16-10 and the Bulls holding a 7-6 advantage in the series when playing the Bonnies at home.

 

BULLS ON THE AIR

Stream - https://tunein.com/radio/Buffalo-Bulls-Sports-Network-s296927/

Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App - Matt Mattia (PxP)

 

TODAY'S STORYLINES
• Buffalo is coming off of a 62-55 defeat to the #8 ranked team in the country, Stanford. The contest marked the first ever meeting between the two programs, with Buffalo holding the Cardinal to the lowest amount of points scored in a game all season. The Bulls' offense was once again led by senior Cierra Dillard as the captain put up 21 points while going 8-of-25 from the floor.
• Dating back to last season, Cierra Dillard has scored 20+ points in 14 straight games and is averaging 26.1 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 3.4 steals across that stretch. Dillard currently LEADS THE NATION in scoring, averaging 25.3 points per game this season through the first 10 games. She has led the Bulls in scoring in every contest this season.
• As a team, the Buffalo offense has produced seven 80+ point scoring efforts across their last 14 games dating back to last season.

GAME 10 RECAP: STANFORD
• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team is coming off of a 62-55 defeat to the #8 ranked team in the country, Stanford. The contest marked the first ever meeting between the two programs. 
• The Bulls were led offensively once again by senior guard Cierra Dillard who amassed 21 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals while connecting on 8-for-25 from the floor.
• Junior forward Summer Hemphill made her second appearance to the court since last March, returing from academic ineligibility, as the versitile scorer knocked down 10 points on the day while going 4-of-9. Hemphill added eight rebounds, two assists and five steals to her statline.
• Junior point guard  Hanna Hall also impressed on the court, 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.
 
PREVIEWING ST. BONAVENTURE
• The St. Bonaventure Bonnies enter Sunday's afternoon contest against the Bulls with an 3-8 record on the year, with notable wins coming against Big-4 opponents Niagara and Canisius.
• The Bonnies are being led offensively by senior guard McKenna Maycock, who is averaging a team-leading 12.6 points per game while collecting 4.8 rebounds a game. Maycock is shooting the ball at a 40.4% clip from the field and 44.4% from three point range.
• St. Bonaventure stands as one of the best schools in the nation when it comes to knocking down shots from beyond the arch, as the Bonnies currently rank first in the A-10 and 41st in the nation in three-point field goals percentage, converting their shots at a 36.3% clip. 
• Junior guard Danielle Migliore has spearheaded the Bonnies three-point ability, knocking down long range shots at a 37.9% clip, a mark that ranks second in the A-10. Her 22 three-point field goals this season rank sixth amongst all players in the conference.
• Additionally, the Bonnies are known for their ability to get to, and convert on, free throw opportunities. St. Bonaventure is first in the A-10 and rank 52nd in hte country in free throwes made with 148. Thier free throw percentage of 71.8% ranks third in the conference and 89th nationally. 
 
OH HOW SWEET IT WAS
• The Bulls put together their best season in program history last season as they were able to notch their first-ever NCAA Tournament game victories, downing #6 South Florida and #3 Florida State.
• Buffalo and Central Michigan became just the second and third MAC schools in conference history to earn a spot in the 
Sweet 16.
• With their 21-point victory over #3 Florida State, the Bulls became the first double digit seed to win a second round NCAA Tournament game by 20+ points in tournament history.
• The Bulls were also the first double-digit seed in NCAA Tournament history to score 100+ points when they defeated No. 6 South Florida by the score of 102-79.
• During their magical NCAA Tournament run, the Buffalo offense averaged 83.7 points/game while connecting on 44.9% of their shots and hitting 26 three-pointers.
 
BULLS IN THE POLLS
• After becoming the cinderella story of the 2018 NCAA Tournament and finishing the season ranked No. 21 in the nation, the national media rewarded the Bulls with three votes in the 2018-19 preseason AP poll and three votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
• This marks the first time in school history that the Bulls earned AP poll votes and USA Today Coaches poll votes in consecutive weeks to open the season.
• The Bulls earned their AP votes from ESPN Analyst and former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo who pegged the Bulls as No. 24 in the nation, and  Carl Adamec from the Journal Inquirer who tabbed UB as No. 25.
• Rebecca Lobo is familiar with the Bulls and head coach Felisha Legette-Jack as she was the analyst for the Bulls Sweet 16 matchup with South Carolina last season in Albany, NY.
 
PRESEASON PRAISE
• For the second straight season, the UB women's basketball team was pegged as the preseason favorite to win the MAC East by the conference coaches.
• Buffalo earned 62 total points and four first-place votes, just edging out Miami (OH) who notched 61 total points and five first-place votes.
• The defending MAC East champions also earned three votes to win the MAC Tournament Championship, trailing only last season's MAC champion Central Michigan who earned eight votes.
• The Bulls also placed two players, Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill, on the preseason All-MAC East squad.
• Buffalo also placed Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill on the First Team All-Big 4 while senior Autumn Jones earned a spot on the Second Team All-Big 4. 
 
HONORS KEEP ROLLING IN FOR DILLARD
• Senior shooting guard Cierra Dillard was tabbed as the MAC East Player of the Week in early December after her 25-point, 10 assist double-double performance in the Bulls' 84-66 victory against cross-town rival Canisius on Dec. 3rd. Dillard has now been recognized with this honor on three occasions already this season after earning the award in back-to back weeks. 
• Dillards previous MAC East Player of the Week recognitions came in the middle of November after Buffalos successful showing at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, NV that saw the Bulls go 2-0 with victories against Georgetown and South Dakota State. Dillard amassed a season-high 33 points against the Hoyas while adding a 20-point performance to lead the Bulls to victory over the Jackrabbits in the second game.
• On November 20th, Dillard was one of 35 players to earn a spot on the Wade Trophy watch list. This marked the first time in school history that a Buffalo player earned a spot on the list.
• Additionally, Dillard was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List as she is one of 50 players on the list and the only mid-major player to earn a spot on the prestigious list. She is also the lone UB women's basketball player to earn a spot on the list in school history.
• She was also selected by local media and athletic communication offices as the Preseason Big 4 Player of the Year.
• Dillard was also one of three unanimous First Team All-Big 4 respresentatives.
 
DILLY DILLY
• Senior Cierra Dillard is in her final season in a Buffalo uniform and the ultra-talented guard has accumulated 1,602 career points across her stops with UMass and the Bulls. She finished off her first season in a UB jersey leading the squad with 566 points which ranked fourth in school history for points in a single season.
• So far this season, Dillard has been nothing short of great for the Bulls as she has scored 20+ points in every contest this season, producing ten straight 20+ point efforts, including 30+ point performances on two occasions against #3 Oregon and Georgetown. Dillard is currently LEADS THE NATION in scoring, averaging 25.3 points per game for the Bulls through the first 10 games of the season.
• Dating back to last season, Cierra Dillard has scored 20+ points in 14 straight games and is averaging 26.1 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 3.4 steals across that stretch. 
• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in all 10 games this season and for the year is averaging 25.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.3 steals while connecting on 39.6% of her shots and an impressive 82.7% of her free throw attempts.
• Against #8 Stanford, Dillard produced a 21 point, four rebound and three steal performace in the Bulls' 62-55 loss.
• Against #3 Oregon, Dillard outproduced preseason All-American Sabrina Ionescu as she posted a game-high 32 points, five assists and four rebounds against the #3 team in the country.
• Dillard produced her first double-double of the season, and the third of her career, against cross-town rival Canisius, as the senior leader accumulated 25 points, 10 assists, six steals and three rebounds while connecting on 6-for-16 from the floor in 32 minutes of work.
• She returned to the Bulls this season as one of two returning players in the NCAA to average at least 16.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game a season ago.
• Dillard finished off her junior season averaging a team-high 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.0 steals while starting all 35 games and playing an average of 31.5 minutes/game.
• During her dynamic run in the NCAA Tournament, the ultra competitive guard averaged 29.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals while shooting 49.1% from the floor and 37.5% from behind the arc.
• Across her career, Dillard has produced at least one steal in 43 of 45 games and recorded multiple steals in 36 games. She also set a career-high with seven thefts in a win over Toledo (1/20/18) last season.
• The crafty passer has recorded at least one assist in each of her 45 career games while recording 5+ helpers 24 times a season ago. She has also led the team in assists 21 times during her UB career.
• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 29 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 21 times. The Bulls own a 16-5 record when Dillard scores 20+ points.
 
SUMMER TIME IN BUFFALO
• Junior forward Summer Hemphill made her first return to the court since last March on Dec. 18th agianst Dartmouth, returning from academic ineligibility that kept her off the court during the fall semester. 
• In her 2018-19 season debut, the versitile scorer knocked down a career-high 24 points on the night while adding 14 rebounds to her statline on her way to her 11th career double-double performance. Hemphill ended the night shooting 8-of-13 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the charity stripe in the Bulls' 75-69 victory over the Big Green.
 
WILKINS CONTINUES STRONG PLAY
• Senior sharpshooter Courtney Wilkins will be relied on heavily this season to step up and score the ball on a more consistent basis and has shown the ability to embrace that role, starting in six games through the first 10 contests of the season.
• Earning her third straight start early in the campaign, Wilkins was a difference maker for the Bulls on Nov. 23rd against #3 Oregon as she netted a season-high 19 points while connecting on a season-best 5-of-11 three-pointers across 30 minutes.
• Wilkins showed flashes of being an impact performer near the end of last season as she went off for a career-high 23 points off the bench in the Bulls First Round NCAA Tournament victory over #6 South Florida. Wilkins finished the game going 7-for-10 from the field and 5-for-8 from behind the three-point line in the win.
 
ONWUKA TURNING HEADS IN STARTING ROLE 
• Junior wing Theresa Onwuka has been a strong bench player for the Bulls across her first two seasons with the squad but she has been asked to serve as a starter this season and is really embracing her new role. She has currently started in all nine contests for the Bulls this season.
• The Nigeria native earned an invite to the Nigerian national camp over the summer as she practiced and trained with the top basketball players from her home country. The experience helped Onwuka grow as a player and helped build her confidence.
• Onwuka is enjoying a strong start to her junior season as she is averaging 11.6 points, 1.6 steals and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 56.6% from the floor and 42.9% from beyond the arc. 
• The junior guard proved she could compete with any team in the nation, pulling down a season-high 13 rebounds while adding five points and two assists against #8 Stanford.
• Against #3 Oregon, Onwuka played 21 minutes and finished with three points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds.
• In the Dec. 18th  showdown against Dartmouth, Onwuka was a key contributer to the Bulls offense as she connected on 7-of-12 from the floor, good for an 18 point outburst. Onwuka also grabbed a then season-high nine rebouds in an all around performance that helped guide the Bulls to the 75-69 victory.
 
TAKING OVER THE REIGNS AT POINT GUARD
• With the departure of the Bulls all-time leader in assists, Stephanie Reid, UB will be searching for a replacement at the point guard spot and they might not have to look any further than sophomore Hanna Hall.
• Hall returns for her second year with the Bulls and looks poised to take over the starting duties after earning the start in each of the Bulls' 10 games this season.
• The Hamilton, ON native is averaging 26.3 minutes, 5.4 points, 2.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game so far this season while starting all 10 games at the point for UB. 
• Hall gained knowledge and experience last season sitting behind Reid as she appeared in 24 games and started two. She averaged just 1.9 points and 1.2 assists per game but her confidence and presence on the court grew as the season moved on.
• Hall had an impressive showing at the point as the Bulls took on #8 Stanford. The sophomore finished the game with 11 points, a season-high five rebounds and two assists across 34 minutes of work.
• The sophomore point guard from Hamilton, Ontario, had arguably the best game of her career in the cross-town showdown between Canisius College as Hall went 5-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc on the night, finishing with a career-high 16 points. She also added two rebounds, two assists and two steals to her impressive statline.
 
TURNING THEM OVER
• Ever since taking over the program seven seasons ago, head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has prided herself on having a team committed to defense and that is no different this season.
• The Buffalo defense has been great early on this season in causing turnovers from their opponents as they are forcing an average of 22.2 turnovers/game across 10 games.
• As a team, Buffalo leads the MAC and ranks 21st in the NCAA forcing turnovers so far this season.
• The Bulls are also averaging 11.5 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 21.1 points/game off of opponents turnovers.
• Against #3 Oregon, UB was able to force 19 turnovers by the Oregon Ducks and they turned those chances into 25 points in the loss. The UB defense forced preseason All-American Sabrina Ionescu to commit a season-high seven turnovers in the loss.
• The Bulls forced Big East opponent Georgetown into conceding 22 turnovers, creating 25 points off of them and ultimately helping propel the Bulls to collect the 73-64 victory over the Hoyas.
• Against cross-town rival Canisius, the Bulls were able to force 32 Golden Griffen turnovers while only turning over the ball 13 times, a +19 difference on the evening. Buffalo was able to turn those turonvers into 32 points on the way to an 84-66 victory.
 
80 PLUS
• The Bulls have always been known for their defense but last season the UB offense began to take over some of the recognition that led the Bulls to a historic season.
• The Bulls are tough to beat when they scored 80+ points as they own a 21-3 record dating back to last season when doing so. 
• The Bulls have posted 80+ performances on four occasions this season, coming away with victories in three of those games.
• Against #3 Oregon, the Buffalo offense posted their second straight 80+ point effort in the loss. The Bulls posted 82 points against the Ducks, the most scored against the nationally ranked opponent this season.
• Buffalo closed out last season averaging 78.4 points/game which ranked third in the MAC and 24th in the NCAA.
• The potent UB attack was able to set a program record with 18 games going over 80 points scored including 12 such games across their final 18 games of the season.
• Overall, Buffalo scored 70+ points in 28 of their 35 games including doing so in 19 of their 21 games against MAC opponents.
• The 102 points scored by the Bulls in their First Round NCAA Tournament victory over #6 South Florida were the most points scored in a single game for the Bulls since December 21, 1995 when they notched 103 points against Wofford.