Buffalo (8-4, 0-1 MAC) at. Eastern Michigan (7-5, 0-1 MAC)
January 9, 2019
Convocation Center – 7 p.m.
Bulls on the Air
Radio – ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team will play its first road game in almost three weeks as they continue Mid-American Conference play at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, January 9, at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Ryan Wooley (pbp) and Greg Steiner (color) announcing and broadcast on ESPN 1520 WWKB and TuneIn Radio with Matt Mattia announcing.
• The contest will mark the 26th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the Eagles holding the series advantage, 15-10. The Bulls are currently 5-2 in the last seven meetings with EMU dating back to 2013, with the last win coming in overtime, 97-92, at Alumni Arena on January 31, 2018.
• Buffalo is coming off of a 74-71 overtime loss to Ohio to open MAC play. The Bulls had four players in double-figures, led by Cierra Dillard who put up 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists. The senior co-captain has led the Bulls in scoring in every contest this season.
• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 15 of the last 16 games, including a stretch of 11 straight, and is averaging 24.5 ppg, 5.1 apg, 5.2 rpg and 3.0 stls/gm across that stretch. Dillard is currently third in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.4 points per game this season through the first 12 games.
• Dillard saw the honors continue to roll in as she was placed on the Wade Trophy watch list to begin the season, marking the first UB player in school history to earn a spot on the prestigious list that named the top 35 players in the NCAA. Earlier this season she earned a spot on the Naismith Award watch list. Dillard has also been named Mid-American Conference Player of the Week on three occassionas already this season.
GAME 12 RECAP: OHIO
• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team fell to Ohio 74-71 in overtime to open conference play. With the loss the Bulls fall to 8-4 on the year and 0-1 in conference action.
• The Bulls were once again led by senior Cierra Dillard who finished with 15 pts, six rebounds and seven assists, however it was the first time this season that she was held below 20 points.
• Junior Summer Hemphill continued to impress since her return to the court this season, as she netted a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist.
• Sophomore point guard Hanna Hall also impressed for the Bulls, putting up 12 points, connecting on a season-best four three-pointers. Hall has now connected on three or more 3-PT field goals in each of the last three contests.
• As a team, the Bulls outshot and outrebounded the Bobcats but were undone by a season high 29 turnovers.
• The 10 point halftime lead was the largest lead surrendered on the season.
PREVIEWING EASTERN MICHIGAN
• The Eastern Michigan Eagles enter Wednesday night's contest against the Bulls with a 7-5 overall, 0-1 MAC record
on the year.
• The Eagles are being led offensively by redshirt sophomore guard Corrione Cardwell, who is averaging a team-leading 14.1 points per game while pulling down 3.7 rebounds and dishing out 3.7 assists per game.
• EMU has three players averaging double figures
(Corrione Cardwell 14.1, Danielle Minott 12.9, Courtnie Lewis 10.9)
• The Eagles have held an opponent to less than 50 points five times this season, the most by an EMU squad since the 2011-12 campaign when it did so six times.
• EMU is ranked second in the MAC in offensive rebounds (13.3), second in scoring defense (58.5) and second in FG% defense (35.7)
TURNING THEM OVER
• 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, as they are forcing an average of 21.4 turnovers/game across 12 games.
• As a team, Buffalo is second the MAC and ranks 28th in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.
• The Bulls are also averaging 11.2 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 20.5 points/game off of opponents turnovers.
• Against cross-town rival Canisius, the Bulls were able to force a season-high 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.
• 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.
HOME SWEET HOME:
• Since Legette-Jack took over before the 2012-13 season, the Bulls hold a 59-28 (67.8%) record at home across 87 contests. • Over the last two plus seasons, UB is 26-6 at Alumni Arena.
• Last year, Buffalo finished a perfect 12-0 at home overall and 9-0 in conference play. On the flip side, Legette-Jack's Bulls are 68-52 (56.6%) on the road or on neutral ground during her tenure.
• After seeing two of its teams advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament a year ago (Buffalo, Central Michigan), the Mid-American Conference continues to gain respect on the national stage as four teams are currently ranked in the Mid-Major Top-25 - No. 5 Ohio, No. 6 Central Michigan, No. 7 Buffalo, No. 23 Toledo
*As of January 2, 2019
• Senior Cierra Dillard is in her final season in a Buffalo uniform and the ultra-talented guard has accumulated 1,643 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 15 of 16 contests this season, including a stretch of 11 straight 20+ point efforts, and two 30+ point performances against #3 Oregon and Georgetown. Dillard is currently third in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.4 points per game for the Bulls through the first 11 games of the season.
• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in all 12 games this season and for the year is averaging 24.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.0 steals while connecting on 40.2% of her shots and an impressive 81.1% of her free throw attempts.
• 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.
• 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 45 of 47 games and recorded multiple steals in 37 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 47 career games while recording 5+ helpers seven times this season. She has also led the team in assists 23 times during her UB career.
• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 31 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 22 times. The Bulls own a 17-5 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.She has since started in three consectuive contests, averaging 15.3 points and 9.5 rebounds across that stretch.
• 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.
TAKING OVER THE REIGNS AT POINT GUARD
• With the departure of the Bulls all-time leader in assists, Stephanie Reid, UB needed to find a replacement at the point guard spot and it appears as though they have found their floor general in 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 12 games this season.
• 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.
• The Hamilton, ON native is averaging 27.4 minutes, 6.4 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game so far this season while starting all 11 games at the point for UB.
• Hall came up big in the MAC opener against Ohio, connecting on a season-best four three-pointers, including two two tie the game late, finishing the game with 12 points, 7 assists, two rebounds and three steals across 44 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.
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 seven games through the first 12 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 12 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 10.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 51.6% from the floor and 30.0% 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Dillard's 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.
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.
Buffalo will continue its road trip at Miami (OH) on Saturday at 2 p.m.