Bulls Face #5 Kent State in MAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Wednesday

Team huddle

#4 Buffalo (20-9, 12-6 MAC) vs. #5 Kent State (19-11, 11-7 MAC)

March 13, 2019

Quicken Loans Arena – 2:30 p.m.

Bulls on the Air

Radio – ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television: ESPN+

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team will open up their 2018 MAC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon as they take on #5 Kent State inside Quicken Loans Arena. Wednesday's quarterfinal will be the second game of the afternoon and should tip around 2:30 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Dave Bacon (pbp) and Jackie Windon (color) announcing, and broadcast on ESPN 1520 WWKB and TuneIn Radio with Matt Mattia and Paul Peck announcing.


TODAY'S STORYLINES

• It will be the second straight quarterfinal matchup between the two teams as UB defeated Kent State 70-52 in the 2018 MAC Tournament quarterfinals.

• The contest will mark the 46th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the Golden Flashes holding the series advantage 28-17. The Bulls have won 8 of the last 10 meetings, but lost 62-53 in the most recent meeting at the MAC Center on March 9, 2019.

• The Bulls are 6-4 against MAC East opponents this season.

Cierra Dillard was named First Team All-MAC, while Summer Hemphill was named Second Team-All MAC.

• The Bulls won their 20th game of the season on March 6, marking just the second time in program history that UB has won 20+ games in four straight seasons.

• UB has notched at least 10 MAC victories in five of the last six seasons under Coach Jack. Prior to Coach Jack taking over, the Bulls only produced one season with 10 MAC wins, 2000-01.

• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 25 of the last 29 games and is averaging 25.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.7 apg and 2.9 stls/gm. The senior is currently second in the nation in scoring.

• Dillard was named one of four finalists for the Dawn Staley Award and was also one of 10 candidates for the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award.

• Dillard 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.


#4 BUFFALO TO HOST #5 KENT STATE AT THE Q

• Winners of three of the last four games, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team will open the 2019 MAC Tournament on Wednesday evening against #5 Kent State.

• The Bulls put together another solid regular season, going 20-9 on the year, 12-6 in league play.

• These two squads met a week ago in Kent, with the Golden Flashes coming away with a 62-53 victory.

• Wednesday's game will air on ESPN+ and will be the second game of the day, starting at approximately 2:30 pm.

• You can also listen in on the radio on ESPN1520 as Matt Mattia and Paul Peck will get you started for action with the UB women's basketball pregame show starting around 2 pm.


FAMILIAR FOE

• The Kent State Golden Flashes enter Saturday's contest against the Bulls with a 19-11 overall, 11-7 MAC record on the year.

• Buffalo and Kent State split the regular season meetings, with each team picking up a win on their home court.

• The Bulls and Golden Flashes will meet in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals for the second straight year as UB defeated Kent State 72-50 on March 7, 2018.

• Kent State is led offensively by redshirt junior guard Megan Carter who is averaging 15.9 points per game while pulling down 4.2 rebounds and dishing out 2.3 assists per game.

• Asiah Dingle (13.1 ppg) and Lindsey Thall (10.3 ppg) also average in double-figures.

• Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the Golden Flashes rank second in the nation in free throws per game and rank eighth in free throws made.

• As a unit, Kent State leads the league in blocked shots per game (4.0) and field goal defense (37.5), is third in scoring defense (61.3), steals per game (8.3) and turnover margin (2.9) and fourth in offensive rebounds per game (12.3).

• Todd Starkey is in his third season as head coach of the Golden Flashes. The 20-year coaching veteran came to Kent State after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana. Starkey was named 2017 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Flashes to a 19-13 overall record and the nation's largest RPI improvement, jumping 222 spots from the previous season.


TWO BULLS EARN ALL-MAC POSTSEASON HONORS

• The Mid-American Conference announced their postseason awards on Tuesday with Cierra Dillard named First Team All-MAC, while Summer Hemphill earned Second Team All-MAC honors.

• After earning the second team nod a season ago, the senior guard was placed on the first team this year for the first time in her stellar Buffalo career. Dillard has taken her play to another level this season as she is averaging 25.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.9 steals in 36.3 minutes per game.

• Hemphill earns second team honors for the first time in her Buffalo career as she is putting together the best season of her career in the blue and white. The 6'0" forward has turned into one of the most dominant post players in the conference this season as she is averaging career-highs in minutes, points, rebounds and blocks while making 58.5% of her field goal attempts and 70.0% of her free throw attempts.


CLEVELAND IS THE REASON

• This marks the fifth straight season the Bulls have made it to the Mid-American Conference quarterfinals in Cleveland and the third time in the last five years that they had a bye to the quarterfinal round.

• The Bulls enter this MAC Tournament as the #4 seed this season with a 20-9 overall record and 12-6 MAC mark.

• Buffalo enters this conference tournament with a chip on their shoulder after falling in the MAC finals a season ago to Central Michigan.


ANOTHER 20+ WIN SEASON

• The wins continue to pile up for the Bulls under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack as they produced their fourth straight 20+ win campaign.

• This marks the second time in school history the Bulls have won 20+ games in four straight seasons since accomplishing that feat from 1993-97.

• Buffalo has posted 12 victories this season by double-digits, including their last three games. They have also posted five victories by 20+ points including a season-high 47 point victory, 90-43, over St. Bonaventure on December 23, 2018.

• UB has also dominated MAC opponents this season, as they have defeated conference opponents by an average of 16.9 points.

• The Bulls won a program-best 29 games last season for the Bulls last season are the third most in MAC history behind Bowling Green in 2007 (31) and in 2014 (30).


TURNING THEM OVER

• The Buffalo defense is forcing an average of 19.3 turnovers/game across 29 contests.

• As a team, Buffalo is second the MAC and ranks 41st in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.

• The Bulls are also averaging 10.1 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 19.9 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. 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.


RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
• The Bulls are excelling in the open court this season, outscoring opponents 409-219 in the fastbreak category.

• Buffalo has held opponents to no fast break points four times this season, while recording at least two fast break points in 28 of 29 contests.

• Over the past two plus seasons, the Bulls have won or tied the fast break category in 80 of their 95 games, including 64 of their 70 wins.


PAINTING A NEW PICTURE

• The Bulls have dominated the paint this season as UB has won or tied the scoring in the paint category in 25 of 29 games this season.

• UB set a season-high with 56 points in the paint at Ball State, scoring 32 of their 40 field goals inside the painted area.

• The Bulls are 17-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 32.9 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 24.3 points/game down low.


CLEANING THE GLASS

• One of the keys to the Bulls success this season has been their ability to rebound the basketball. The Bulls currently rank third in the MAC and 66th in the NCAA in rebounds/game as they are averaging 40.2/game.

• The Bulls are also limiting their opponents to just 36.4 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 15-4 this season when winning the rebounding battle and just 5-5 when they are outrebounded by their opponents. UB has won the rebounding battle in 19 of 29 games this season, including 14 of 18 MAC games.

• In conference games, UB is second in the MAC as they are grabbing an average 41.2 rebounds/game. Summer Hemphill currently ranks second in the MAC in rebounds in conference games, averaging 10.4/game.


CREATING SECOND CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES

• Buffalo has excelled all season long on the offensive glass as the Bulls lead the MAC in offensive rebounding, averaging 14.9/game on the season.

• UB grabbed a season-high 26 offensive rebounds against Bowling Green, turning those into 21 second chance points.

• In MAC games, UB has turned up the attack on the offensive glass as they are leading the conference, averaging 14.9/game, 2.5 offensive rebounds more than 2nd place Kent State.

• Buffalo has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 26 of their 29 games this season and have snagged at least 20 on four occasions. Bulls take advantage of their offensive rebounds as they are averaging 13.4 second chance points per game on the year.


HOME SWEET HOME
• Since Legette-Jack took over before the 2012-13 season, the Bulls hold a 66-29 (.695) record at home across 95 contests.

• Over the last two seasons, UB is 21-3 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 73-56 (.566) on the road or on neutral ground during her tenure.


MACtion
• 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. 7 Central Michigan, No. 15 Ohio, No. 19 Buffalo, No. 23 Miami (OH)

*Receiving votes: Toledo

**As of March 5, 2019


YOUNG BULLS

• Buffalo is tied with Ball State for the youngest roster in the MAC with six true freshmen.

• Buffalo's six freshmen rank as the fifth most freshmen on a NCAA Division I women's basketball roster in the country. Only 18 teams have more the Buffalo's six. 


DILLY DILLY

• Senior Cierra Dillard is in her final season in a Buffalo uniform and the ultra-talented guard has accumulated 2,082 career points across her stops with UMass and the Bulls.

• The senior set the single-season scoring record, currently with 733 points, surpassing the previous mark of 708 set by Kourtney Brown in the 2010-11 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.

• Dillard became the fastest player in UB history to get to 1,000 career points, doing so in just 53 games. She is Buffalo's 25th 1,000 point scorer and one of only four to reach that milestone in less than 100 games.

• The senior scored her 2,000th career point at the free throw line in the fourth quarter of a 30-point win at Ohio on February 27.

• Dillard now has 1,299 points in a UB uniform, moving her into eighth place on the all-time scoring list.

• So far this season, Dillard has been nothing short of great for the Bulls as she has scored 20+ points in 25 of 29 contests this season, including a stretch of 11 straight 20+ point efforts, and six 30+ point performances (Oregon, Georgetown, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ohio and Miami (OH)). Dillard is currently second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.3 points per game for the Bulls through the first 29 games of the season.

• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in 26 of 29 games this season and is averaging 25.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.9 steals while connecting on 38.6% of her shots and an impressive 80.2% of her free throw attempts on the year.

• Across her career, Dillard has produced at least one steal in 62 of 64 games and recorded multiple steals in 49 games. She matched a career-high with seven thefts in a win over Central Michigan on February 16, 2019.

• The crafty passer has recorded at least one assist in each of her 64 career games while recording 5+ helpers 16 times this season. She has also led the team in assists 37 times during her UB career.

• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 45 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 36 times. The Bulls own a 27-9 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.

• Hemphill is currently averaging 13.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game on the season.

• The Buffalo, NY native has recorded 12 double-doubles on the year, including 11 of the last 16 games.

• In her 2018-19 season debut, the versatile scorer poured in a career-high 24 points, while adding 14 rebounds.

• Hemphill tied her career-high with 24 points, including a career-high 10 field goals, and 10 rebounds in a victory at Ball State.

• The Buffalo, NY native pulled down a season-high 18 boards in UB's win at Ohio.


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 28 of 29 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 junior season, averaging 9.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 47.7% from the floor and 74.2% from the free throw line.

• 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.

• 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, while grabbing a then season-high nine rebounds in the win.


HONORS KEEP ROLLING IN FOR DILLARD

• Senior guard Cierra Dillard was named MAC East Player of the Week on March 5th after leading the Bulls to big wins at Ohio and against Miami (OH). It is the sixth weekly honor for Dillard this season, a program record.

• Dillard was named one of 10 candidates for the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, recognizing the top shooting guard in women's NCAA Division 1 college basketball.

• The Rochester, NY native was named espnW's National Player of the Week on January 14th after averaging 34.5 points per game, while adding 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 4.0 steals per contes in wins at Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH).

• Additionally, Dillard was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List and is 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.


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 25-4 record dating back to last season when doing so.

• The Bulls have posted 80+ performances on 11 occasions this season, coming away with victories in nine of those games.

• Buffalo is currently averaging 76.4 points/game which ranks third in the MAC and 26th in the nation.

• 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.

• The potent UB attack was able to set a program record last season with 18 games going over 80 points scored including 12 such games across their final 18 games of the season.

• 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.


60 OR LESS
• The Bulls have been known for their defense since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the program which has helped UB produce three straight 20+ win seasons for just the second time.

• Over the last three seasons, UB is 58-3 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 38-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.

• The stingy Buffalo defense held a total of 18 opponents under 70 points this season, winning 16 of those contests.

• Buffalo held a total of eight opponents under 50 points last season and they were 8-0 in those games.


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.