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Disastrous third quarter gives UB women’s basketball second straight loss

Duquesne’s 18-5 run helps drop Bulls

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Defense was the Buffalo women’s basketball team’s strong point during its 6-0 start to the season, as it held all of its opponents to 60 points or less.

That same defense was a weakness in the team’s first loss to Hofstra on Thursday and was again Sunday – specifically in the third quarter – in a loss to Duquesne (7-1).

Behind a third quarter in which it outscored Buffalo 29-10, Duquesne defeated the Bulls (6-2) 79-62 in Alumni Arena to give Buffalo its second straight loss after a 6-0 start. The Bulls allowed the Dukes to shoot 48 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 43-32.

“This game was frustrating because our whole motivation is ‘respect all, fear none’ and by halftime, I sensed that they had a ton of respect for the kids that were playing,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “We didn’t compete like we usually do and I’m very disappointed in our fight. We don’t need to bring in additional players, we need to show that in intestinal fortitude on a regular basis.”

The third quarter is where it all fell apart for Buffalo.

Duquesne started the third quarter on an 18-5 run, hitting several three-pointers and finishing in the lane. What also helped the Dukes was their ability to get second chances offensively. Duquesne also took advantage of Buffalo’s lack of an interior presence, grabbing seven offensive rebounds in the quarter.

Legette-Jack was “disappointed” in the team’s fight in the third.

“We lost our focus. We called timeouts, we told them that they’re going to get beat, but to give them just one chance,” Legette-Jack said. “No offensive rebounds, just give them one chance. And we didn’t get out and pressure them. I don’t care if you’re an NBA team, you don’t out rebound us. It’s the second time that happened in a row and it’s inexcusable.”

As a result of Duquesne’s strong third quarter, the Bulls went into the fourth quarter facing a 15-point deficit, which turned out to be too much for the Bulls to handle.

But the first half highlighted Buffalo’s strengths, as the Bulls came out aggressive on the defensive end by forcing several turnovers and turning them into points. In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Bulls forced seven Duquesne turnovers. Legette-Jack emphasized the defensive play early in the game, wanting “as much energy on that side of the ball as possible.”

With defensive success came offense for the Bulls from two bench players. Freshman guard Gabi Bade and sophomore forward Courtney Wilkins were the two main components for Buffalo’s offense in the first half, leading the way as the Bulls went into halftime with a four-point lead.

Bade scored 13 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers, and ultimately finished the game with 16. Wilkins scored all eight of her points in the first half, showcasing and inside-outside game by nailing two of her four shots from beyond the arc.

Legette-Jack was impressed with both players’ performances against the Dukes, while wanting to see more from them moving forward.

“Courtney got better, she some things on offense, but she has to play a little bit better defense so she can play on both ends of the floor,” Legette-Jack said. “You can’t give three and take three. Once she shows improvement on that end, you’ll see on her on the floor more. [Bade] can play. You will see it in spurts. The thing about freshmen is that you need to continue to work hard and that’s what Gabi does. My hope is that she continues to grow.”

The Bulls have allowed 79 points and been out-rebounded in both of their losses. Junior center Cassie Oursler is still out of the lineup due to transfer issues.

With the two-game losing streak, Legette-Jack said the team won’t change much and will have to figure it out in order to get back to winning.

“We’re going to find out,” Legette-Jack said. “We’re going to have to figure it out. We won’t throw away the entire game plan over two losses. We will continue to look at film and see what we can do better, what needs to be emphasized and how we can turn around this streak. What got us to six wins got us to two. We have St. Bonaventure coming and they’re going to want to jump on us. We’re not going to let that happen.”

The Bulls travel to face St. Bonaventure (5-2) on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @HaynesTheWriter.


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