Buffalo (9-4, 1-1 MAC) at. Miami (OH) (10-3, 1-1 MAC)
January 12, 2019
Millett Hall – 2 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 second consecutive road game as they continue Mid-American Conference play at Miami (OH) on Saturday, January 12, at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Steve Baker (pbp) and Carol Smith (color) announcing and broadcast on ESPN 1520 WWKB and TuneIn Radio with Matt Mattia announcing.
• The contest will mark the 39th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the RedHawks holding the series advantage, 20-18. The Bulls have won the past five meetings dating back to 2016, with the last win a 64-49 victory at Millet Hall on February 10, 2018.
• Buffalo is coming off of a 91-84 overtime win at Eastern Michigan . The Bulls were led by Cierra Dillard who set a school record with 43 points, while adding five rebounds and five assists and five steals. The senior co-captain has led the Bulls in scoring in every contest this season.
• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 16 of the last 17 games, including a stretch of 11 straight, and is averaging 25.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.1 apg and 3.2 stls/gm across that stretch. Dillard is currently second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.9 points per game this season through the first 13 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 occasions already this season.
GAME 13 Recap: Eastern Michigan
• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team defeated Eastern Michigan 91-84 in overtime Wednesday night behind a record setting performance by senior Cierra Dillard.
• Dillard set a school record with 43 points, besting the previous mark of 39 set by Brittany Hedderson in 2011, while also pulling down five rebounds and dishing out five assists.
• Dillard's 43 points ties for seventh-most by an NCAA Division 1 player this season
• The 175 combined points are the fourth-most in Convocation Center history.
• Sophomore point guard Hanna Hall also had a banner night, setting a career-high with 20 points, connecting on a career-best five three-pointers. Hall has now made three or more 3-PT field goals in each of the last four contests.
• The Bulls shot 46.9% from the field, 39.1% from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Eagles 41-38.
PREVIEWING MIAMI (OH)
• The Miami (OH) RedHawks enter Saturday afternoon's contest against the Bulls with a 10-3 overall, 1-1 MAC record on the year.
• The RedHawks are coming off a 65-64 win over Toledo on Wednesday, with four players scored in double figures.
• Miami is led offensively by junior guard Lauren Dickerson, who is averaging a team-leading 14.8 points per game while pulling down 4.9 rebounds and dishing out 5.8 assists per game.
• The RedHawks have four players averaging double figures (Dickerson 14.8, Savannah Kluesner 13.1, Kendall McCoy 12.5 and Nia Clark 10.6).
• Miami has held opponents to less than 60 points in nine games and less than 50 points in four of those games.
• The Redhawks rank first in the MAC in scoring defense (57.9) and 3PT FG defense (20.1%), are second behind UB in offensive rebounds per game (13.3) and rank third in scoring margin (+9.5) and assist/turnover ratio (1.11).
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 21.3 turnovers/game across 12 games.
• As a team, Buffalo is second the MAC and ranks 23rd in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.
• The Bulls are also averaging 11.1 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 20.5 points/game off of opponent's 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 turnovers 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 69-52 (57.0%) 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. 3 Ohio, No. 5 Central Michigan, No. 9 Buffalo, No. 21 Toledo
*Receiving votes: Northern Illinois, Miami (OH)
**As of January 8, 2019
• Senior Cierra Dillard is in her final season in a Buffalo uniform and the ultra-talented guard has accumulated 1,686 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.
• Dillard set a program record with 43 points against Eastern Michigan on January 9, 2019, besting the previous mark of 39 set by Brittany Hedderson in 2011.
• So far this season, Dillard has been nothing short of great for the Bulls as she has scored 20+ points in 16 of 17 contests this season, including a stretch of 11 straight 20+ point efforts, and three 30+ point performances against #3 Oregon, Georgetown and Eastern Michigan. Dillard is currently second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.9 points per game for the Bulls through the first 13 games of the season.
• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in all 13 games this season and for the year is averaging 25.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 3.2 steals while connecting on 42.1% of her shots and an impressive 79.5% of her free throw attempts.
• Against #3 Oregon, Dillard out produced 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.
• 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 46 of 48 games and recorded multiple steals in 38 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 48 career games while recording 5+ helpers eight times this season. She has also led the team in assists 24 times during her UB career.
• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 32 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 23 times. The Bulls own a 18-5 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 against Dartmouth. She has since started in three of the last four contests, averaging 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds across that stretch.
• In her 2018-19 season debut, the versatile scorer knocked down a career-high 24 points on the night while adding 14 rebounds to her stat line 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 13 games this season.
• The Hamilton, ON native is averaging 28.2 minutes, 7.5 points, 2.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game so far this season while starting all 13 games at the point for UB.
• The sophomore point had the best game of her career at Eastern Michigan (1/9/19) as she went 6-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc on the night, finishing with a career-high 20 points. She also added three rebounds, three steals and an assist to her impressive stat line.
• Hall came up big in the MAC opener against Ohio, connecting on a season-best four three-pointers, including two to tie the game late, finishing the game with 12 points, 7 assists, two rebounds and three steals across 44 minutes of work.
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 13 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 embraced her new role as a starter this season, starting in all 13 contests for the Bulls on the year.
• 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 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 51.0% from the floor and 25.0% 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 contributor 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 rebounds 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 representatives.
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 return home to Alumni Arena to host Ball State on Wednesday at 7 p.m.