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Last-second block helps UB women’s basketball survive against Bowling Green

Oursler preserves Bulls victory over Falcons

stephanie_reid

It was the Grand Island native that came up big on “Grand Island Night” at Alumni Arena Wednesday.

After Bowling Green missed a three-point attempt, the Falcons grabbed an offensive board for one more desperation shot to try to send the game into overtime. It was Buffalo junior center Cassie Oursler’s block on the final play that secured the women’s basketball team’s victory.

The Bulls (14-12, 6-9 Mid-American Conference) defeated Bowling Green (9-15, 5-10 MAC) 55-52 on a last-second block by Oursler, a native of Grans Island. The Bulls held a special promotion Wednesday – anyone from Grand Island could purchase a ticket for $5.

Oursler finished with nine points and four rebounds.

“They’re all big wins,” said head coach Felisha Legette- Jack. “We didn’t have good energy coming into the beginning of the game and we really didn’t connect to synergy until the second half. One player did, the other didn't. The last five minutes, we surged. We were talking on defense, making plays, everything.”

With the victory over the Falcons, the Bulls moved into third place in the MAC East standings and a sweep of the season series. Buffalo is still the No. 8 seed in the conference.

Despite a poor shooting night, the Bulls came away with the victory. Buffalo shot 33 percent from the field, including just 3 of 19 from three, compared to Bowling Green’s 42 percent shooting night. The Bulls struggled to come away with a basket, but used their surging defense to limit Bowling Green to just 42 shot attempts.

Buffalo’s best defensive effort came in the third, where it held the Falcons to just nine points. Senior guard Karin Moss was a catalyst for the Bulls’ defensive performance despite failing to register a single point.

“Defense is my mentality every time,” Moss said. “I’m a defensive sparkplug, I look to come in and make plays on defense. If the shot is there for me, I’m going to take the shot, but my job is to talk, navigate on defense and get us going and get us where we need to be on defense.”

Alongside the team’s defensive stand in the third quarter, the Bulls were aggressive on the glass with 43 total rebounds. They limited Bowling Green’s chances, while collecting second chance opportunities. Buffalo had 17 offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points, while Bowling Green had just two offensive rebounds and two second-chance points.

Sophomore guard Stephanie Reid had 14 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals, while junior guard Joanna Smith finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Moss finished with four rebounds, two assists and two steals to go with solid defensive play despite not scoring.

Legette-Jack also noted the performance of freshman guard Gabi Bade. Bade finished with six points, including going 2 of 6 from three-point range and four rebounds. Legette-Jack said that Bade did a good job “extending and stretching the floor,” and believes it will help in the next few games as she continues to slow down.

The Bulls travel to Athens, Ohio to face MAC-leading Ohio (22-4, 14-1 MAC) on Saturday. Buffalo defeated the Bobcats the last time the two teams faced off on Feb. 3 – Ohio’s only conference loss of the season. The Bulls held Ohio to just 41 points.

“It’s our defense that’s going to be indicative of our success. If we continue to play well and focus on that end,” Legette-Jack said. “We’re going to be a good team and continue to play well in the next three, four, five, six games we have left.”

Tipoff is set for 1 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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