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FAIR FIGHT: UB WOMEN STAGE 4TH QUARTER COMEBACK, DROP KENT STATE
Plus: No rest for the women as Akron comes to town Wednesday; tonight's men's game is postponed.
Image from ubbulls.com
If you’re not watching the UB women’s basketball team this season, you’re missing out.
Yesterday, we saw a back-and-forth prize fight between two of the toughest mid-major teams in Division 1 women’s hoops. The Bulls (10-4 overall, 4-0 in Mid-American Conference play) overcame a seven-point fourth quarter deficit to take out MAC rival Kent State, 65-62, on Sunday at Alumni Arena.
Sophomore guard Dyaisha Fair (pictured above), the fourth-leading scorer in the nation, dropped 26 on the Golden Flashes (10-6, 2-5), who entered the game ranked 18th on College Insider’s Mid-Major Top 25. Freshman guard Georgia Woolley added 14, including a four-of-five performance from three-point range.
Buffalo is 14th on the Mid-Major Top 25.
Two teams, two different styles
What a nail biter! This one was tense throughout. The contest highlighted a clash of styles:
UB’s free-flowing transition game, its love of the three-ball, and its aggressive, sideline-to-sideline-to-baseline passing to set up its Big Three (Fair, Woolley, and fifth year senior forward Summer Hemphill) on offense. Defensively, the Bulls played a suffocating zone matchup that Coach Felisha Legette-Jack stretched the length of the floor.
Kent State’s sharp half-court sets include a fondness for three-point shooting that dwarfs UB’s—the Flashes have played two more games than the Bulls, and has launched 122 more threes—nifty ball movement, and a knack for rebounding that allows KSU to clean the glass at a rate of nearly nine boards more than their opponents per game.
The contrast—and the difficulty each team would have checking the other—was evident from the jump.
Kent State took an early lead before Fair and Woolley knocked down a pair of triples to tie the game at six, but the Golden Flashes scored on back-to-back possessions to take a 10-6 lead at the first media timeout. Buffalo answered with a 5-0 run out of the media, capped by a Woolley three, to take their first lead of the game, 11-10. Fair continued to attack as she got a mid-range jumper to go plus the foul and later knocked down a triple at the buzzer to give UB a 22-17 lead at the end of the first.
It was a sluggish start to the second quarter for both teams as they each had prolonged field goal droughts, only trading free throws, before Kent State broke through with a three to take a 26-25 lead at the 4:11 mark. Fair then drained a three for UB's first field goal of the quarter and later knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Bulls a 31-28 lead, but the Flashes answered with a three at the other end to tie the game at 31 at the half.
Hemphill, averaging nearly 17 points a game this season, drew two early fouls and did not score in the first half. She certainly did in the second, however:
Hemphill got off to a strong start to start the third quarter as she scored seven points in the opening minutes and Adebola Adeyeye added a pair of layups to give the Bulls a 42-37 lead at the 3:44 mark. Later, Hemphill scored in transition and Woolley knocked down a corner triple off the skip pass from Hemphill to put the Bulls up 49-44 lead, but the Flashes answered with points on back-to-back possessions to cut the UB lead to 49-48 at the end of the third.
Hemphill (pictured below) would finish with 11 points and six rebounds, including the biggest shot of the game.
All hope is lost, until it isn’t
Image from ubbulls.com
Trouble struck early in the fourth quarter:
Kent State opened the scoring with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Casey Santoro to take a 51-49 lead, followed shortly thereafter with another three from senior forward Lindsey Thall.
Junior forward Nila Blackford added a layup at the 7:51 mark to stretch the Flashes’ advantage to 56-49.
And while the Bulls battled back to cut the lead to three, the Flashes accelerated back to a seven-point buffer at 60-53 when Thall rattled in a bucket with just over four minutes remaining in the game.
Given the fact the Bulls shot a chilly one-of-11 from the floor in the third quarter and started the fourth two-for-seven—that’s 16 percent for all you math majors—the prospect of a comeback seemed remote.
Woe to the unbelievers! UB outscored KSU 12-3 to close out the game, patching the closing run together with a few timely shots, free throws, and defense.
Kent State led 60-53 after a layup by senior forward Lindsey Thall with 4:11 remaining. That would be the last field goal for the Flashes, who managed just a pair of free throws in four attempts by sophomore guard Casey Santoro down the stretch. They missed their final seven shots from the floor.
A jumper by senior forward Summer Hemphill with 58 seconds to go following a KSU turnover put Buffalo on top 62-61. The Flashes missed two 3-pointers and were forced to foul Bulls star junior guard Dyaisha Fair, who split a pair of free throws with 32 ticks left.
Santoro had a chance to tie the game after drawing a foul with 23 seconds remaining, but split a pair from the line. Fair connected on two free throws at the 15-second mark, then Santoro missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer just before the final buzzer sounded.
"We've been going through a lot of things off the court," Legette-Jack told UBBulls.com. "Summer missed our shootaround to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law and she was playing with a heavy heart, but we kept sticking with her and she hit the biggest shot of the whole night. I love the way our kids protected her until she was able to deliver. You can't say enough about Dyaisha and what Georgia can do. This was a great team effort and if we stick together, we can be a special team.”
Final notes from a gutsy win
Image from ubbulls.com
While UB was out-rebounded by Kent State, 39-30, the teams each scored 26 points in the paint. Despite losing the offensive rebound battle to the Flashes, 14-8, the Bulls were only outscored 8-6 on second-chance points.
Adeyeye (pictured above) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in 26 minutes for Buffalo while playing with what appeared to be a heavily-wrapped right knee.
Guard Cheyenne McEvans missed her second straight game with an undisclosed injury. Fellow guard Jazmine Young, out since late December, remains inactive for personal reasons. The two have combined for 20 starts this season.
UB—58th in the NCAA NET rankings—remains tied atop the MAC with Toledo (6-0 in conference play). Buffalo has won four in a row and remains undefeated (7-0) at Alumni Arena.
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REVOLVING DOOR: HERE COMES AKRON
Image from gozips.com
UB won’t have much time to celebrate the win: Akron’s coming to town tomorrow. The Zips (7-4, 4-1), 154th in the NCAA NET rankings, are winners of four MAC games in a row, with the latest victory over 144th-ranked MAC rival Ball State on Saturday.
The Akron Zips women's basketball team utilized bombs away approach from long range and pinpoint passing to down the visiting Ball State Cardinals 83-76, winning their fourth straight game and continuing to rise in the Mid-American Conference standings.
The last time Akron won four-straight league games, was back in the 2014-15 season.
Akron nearly set a season high for 3-pointers made with 12, eclipsed only by the 13 it made in its opener against Slippery Rock, and shot 53.8 percent on threes.
Redshirt senior guard Jordyn Dawson (Huntington, W Va., pictured above) – the only player ranked in the top five in the MAC for both scoring and rebounding – was once again an all-around force with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the win. Sophomore guard Annika Corcoran (Painesville, Ohio) had a season-high 13 points and made a team-best four triples. Add in an efficient 18-point effort from redshirt sophomore guard Layne Ferrell (Franklin, Ohio) and the Zips (7-4, 4-1 MAC) had more than enough firepower for a victory.
Despite the victories—and probably due to a non-conference schedule lacking a signature win, and a trio of postponements and cancelations—Akron’s ranked 154th in the NCAA rankings and didn’t receive a vote for the most recent College Insider Mid-Major Top 25.
Four things to know heading into the Akron-Buffalo women’s basketball game:
Akron averages 66.2 points per game, second to last in the MAC, but allows just 63 points per game, fourth-best in the conference. UB scores at a 77.4 point-per-game clip, second in the league, and surrenders 68.7.
Both the Zips and Bulls shoot 42 percent from the field. Akron holds opponents to a 39 percent field goal percentage, while Buffalo allows a 40 percent make rate. UB connects on 37 percent of three-point attempts, while Akron is successful on 33 percent of long-distance tries.
Buffalo grabs just over 40 rebounds per game, third in the MAC, while the Zips are 10th at 35 per contest. Akron’s rebounding margin is -1.9 per game.
From UBBulls.com: “As a team, Akron leads the MAC and ranks 15th in the NCAA in fewest turnovers (171) and are 32nd in fewest fouls (189). The Zips have connected on five or more three-pointers in nine games this season, and 39 of its last 42 contests overall.”
Game time is 7 p.m. at Alumni Arena. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.
UB MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TONIGHT IS POSTPONED
Image from ubbulls.com
Tonight’s home game against Central Michigan will need to be rescheduled.
The Mid-American Conference announced on Sunday night that the Buffalo men's basketball game vs Central Michigan that was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 18 has been postponed due to Covid-19 protocols within the CMU program. Efforts will be made to make this game up at a later date.
The Bulls will now return to action on Friday night when UB hosts Kent State at 8pm in a game that will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
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