BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team clinched a first round bye to next week's Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 75-61 win over Bowling Green at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night. With the win the Bulls improve to 20-8 on the year, 12-5 in the league.
Buffalo produced its fourth straight 20+ win season, marking just the second time in program history that UB has won 20+ games in four straight seasons since the Bulls did it from 1993-97.
"I am just so grateful to be in this locker room and to be witnessing this story develop as it's developing," head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "I just think that these young ladies have so much potential and my hope is that others come out and get an idea of why I'm always so happy coming into work."
Cierra Dillard led all scorers with 27 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Her record breaking season continued as the senior set the UB single-season scoring record on a free throw in the fourth quarter, putting her at 715 points on the season, surpassing the previous mark of 708 set by Kourtney Brown in the 2010-11 season.
"It means a lot," Dillard said. "It's a blessing to be here wearing the blue and white, playing for Buffalo across your chest. I'm so blessed to be here and to think about that record and to do that in two seasons, it kind of amazes you all the dedication, the sacrifices and the hard work you put in and honestly it all goes to my teammates and coaching staff. I thank Coach Jack and the UB community for letting me be me, for letting me be free and not pressuring me to be anybody else than Cierra Dillard and they definitely got that these past two years."
Summer Hemphill recorded her 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 16 rebounds and Brittany Morrison added a double-double of her own with 14 points and 14 rebounds, 10 of them coming on the offensive glass.
It was an offensive struggle to start with Buffalo holding a narrow 6-5 lead at the first media timeout. Hemphill converted an offensive rebound putback to give the Bulls a 10-8 lead and the two teams would be at ten at the end of one quarter of play.
The Bulls offense heated up in the second as UB used a 10-0 run, including a Morrison and-one and a Dillard three, to take a 25-15 lead at the 3:52 mark. BGSU would cut the lead to five with 1:33 remaining in the first half but the Bulls answered with a 6-0 run of their own capped by a Morrison bucket at the buzzer to take a 35-24 lead at the break.
Bowling Green would start the third quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 37-33 at the 7:21 mark but the Bulls would withstand the threat and maintain a 46-38 lead at the media timeout. UB would break the game open with a 10-1 run on back-to-back triples by Hanna Hall to take a 56-39 lead at the 1:37 mark and would lead 59-41 after three. Buffalo shot 45% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc in the third.
Bowling Green fought back to start the fourth, cutting the lead back to ten, 62-52, at the 5:42 mark but Dillard responded with a three point play the hard way, on three free throws to put the Bulls back up 13 and they would lead 65-52 at the final media timeout and hold on for the 14 point victory.
Buffalo more than doubled BGSU on the glass, winning the battle of the boards 52-24, including 26 offensive rebounds, while scoring 36 points in the paint and turned 16 Falcons turnovers into 17 points on the other end.
Up next the Bulls travel to Kent State on Saturday, March 9, to take on the Golden Flashes in the regular season finale at 2 p.m.