Bulls Prevail in Hard Fought Battle with Kent State, 75-66

Cierra Dillard

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team withstood a second half charge by Kent State to defeat the Golden Flashes 75-66 at Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon. With the win the Bulls improve to 16-5 on the year, 8-2 in league play.

Cierra Dillard narrowly missed out on a triple double, pouring in a game-high 31 points, including five from beyond the arc and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe, to go along with 11 assists and eight rebounds. Summer Hemphill recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Courtney Wilkins also chipped in 16 points, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

The Bulls came out strong to start, opening the game on an 11-2 run, sparked by five early points from Dillard. The Golden Flashes would later respond with a 6-4 run of their own but UB maintained a 15-8 lead after one. Buffalo was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the opening quarter.

Buffalo would get off to another good start in the second with a 10-6 run, with five points coming off a Wilkins three and a Hemphill fast break layup. The Bulls would continue to pull away as Wilkins drilled her second three of the quarter before Dillard drained back-to-back triples and Wilkins knocked down her third three of the period to give the Bulls a 41-25 lead, their largest of the first half, and UB would take a 41-27 lead into the break.

Buffalo would pick up right where they left off to start the third as Dillard and Wilkins drained triples on two of UB's first three possessions to give the Bulls their largest lead of the game, 47-27. But the Golden Flashes would answer in a big way, rattling off a 19-5 run to cut the UB lead to six with 4:07 to play in the third. Hemphill helped to stop the bleeding with a layup inside to put the Bulls back up double digits and UB would lead 59-51 after three.

The Buffalo offense went cold as the Bulls went with out a field goal for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as the Golden Flashes took advantage, cutting the lead all the way down to four. Dillard and Hemphill responded with and-one plays of their own a couple minutes apart to put the Bulls back up ten with 4:07 to play. The two teams traded baskets down the stretch and Kent State would cut the lead to seven with 44 seconds to play but that would be as close as they would get as Dillard converted two free throws to secure the victory.

The Bulls outshot the Golden Flashes from the floor and went an impressive 16-of-18 (88.9%) from the charity stripe. UB won the rebounding battle by a narrow 36-35 margin and also forced 20 Kent State turnovers, cashing in on 27 points off those mistakes. The Bulls also scored 25 fast break points, the second-most scored by UB in transition this season.

Up next, the Bulls travel to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons on Wednesday, February 13, at 7 p.m.