Reid, defense lead way for UB women's basketball
Buffalo defeats Big 4 rival Canisius behind point guard and shutdown ‘D’
Sophomore guard Stephanie Reid wanted to celebrate her mother’s birthday in a special way from across the world.
Her gift: A stellar all-around performance on the court to continue the women’s basketball team’s undefeated start.
“She couldn’t be with her mom in Australia but she celebrated her on the basketball court, pretty good day,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack.
The Bulls (2-0) defeated Big 4 rival Canisius (0-2) 54-40 in Alumni Arena on Tuesday night behind Reid and yet another impressive defensive performance, as Buffalo has allowed just 78 points in its first two games. After only scoring just seven points in the first quarter, Buffalo went on a 23-4 run in the second quarter that helped propel it to its second victory.
Reid logged eight points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds in the second quarter and finished the game with six assists, seven rebounds, five steals and led all scorers with 12 points – a stat she’s not used to leading in.
“I’m not a score-first player, I look to assist but when they have to defend everyone on the court, it just makes it easier,” Reid said.
Reid dazzled with her aggressiveness throughout the game, most notably around the rim. She constantly was charging taller and bigger defenders, but was able to squeak her shot past the swatting hands and connected on multiple layups.
She also crossed up multiple defenders, especially in that huge second quarter, around the rim and showcased her impeccable ball handling. She also came away with three steals.
“You can’t leave her, if you leave her she’s going to finish with a layup,” Legette-Jack said. “So you stay with her and [Reid] has another crease to get to the basket so it’s just a wonderful thing when no one really cares about who gets the credit, and a team and the locker room is about a oneness, a unity, so it’s just us.”
Entering the season, Buffalo’s game plan was focused on getting the shooters the ball in open areas of the court to score.
But it seems defense may be the new success model for the team. The Bulls allowed 40 points or less in both games this season. The Griffins shot just 31.9 percent from the field.
“With our defense, it’s something that we really believed in,” Legette-Jack said. “We were willing to go to the player-player kind of defense, we think that we have the lateral quickness, and so we just decided to go after it, I am still uncomfortable at the fact that we’re not boxing out at the end, but we’re getting better every day, they’re raising their hands when they makes mistakes and that’s pretty cool.”
Although the Bulls walked away with the victory, they have been having trouble from beyond the arc this season. Buffalo has made only 10 three-pointers this season to an astonishing 46 attempts – just 22 percent.
Junior guard Joanna Smith was supposed to be Buffalo’s mains coring threat, but she has just 33 percent from the field and 20 percent from three-point range in the first two games. As a tea, Buffalo is shooting just 21.7 percent from beyond the arc.
But sophomore guard Katherine Ups, who is 1-of-7 on the season from three, wasn’t all too worried about the team’s low shooting percentage.
“I think that just this game wasn’t a game for the three’s,” Ups said. “Either way we find ways to attack, and if our shooters are not having an on night, they still have to defend our threes, it just opens up our driving lane and even our lanes for the post.”
Buffalo outrebounded Canisius 46-30 on the night. More impressive, the Bulls outrebounded the Griffins 19-6 on the offensive glass as nine players grabbed at least one offensive board. Reid, the team’s second-shortest player at 5-foot-9, tied Smith for a team-high six rebounds Tuesday.
Buffalo travel to Massachusetts (1-0) as they face the Minutemen for its first road matchup of the season on Nov. 21. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.
Romulo Romero is a sports staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com