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UB women’s basketball defense shuts down Miami Ohio 58-39

Third quarter run leads Bulls over RedHawks

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The first quarter of Saturday’s game was indicative of the Buffalo women’s basketball team’s last month of play: good defense, but abysmal offense.

The last three quarters were indicative of Buffalo’s 6-0 start to the season.

The Bulls (13-12, 5-9 Mid-American Conference) had a great third quarter as they scored 23 points and kept Miami Ohio’s (9-16, 3-11 MAC) offense in check with a full court press en route to a 58-39 victory at Alumni Arena Saturday afternoon. The victory moved the Bulls to third place in the MAC East, surpassing Bowling Green (9-14, 5-9 MAC).

“We’re young. Miami Ohio is young. We’re just continuing to get better,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “They’re going to be a team at the forefront of the MAC in a few years when they grow, and we hope to be right there with them.”

During the third quarter, the Bulls had success on both ends of the ball. Offensively, the combination of junior guard Joanna Smith and senior guard Karin Moss caught fire. The duo scored 15 points, led by Smith’s 10 points. Defensively, the Bulls forced five Miami Ohio turnovers and the team’s full court press limited their chances of pushing the ball on offense.

While Moss and Smith propelled the Buffalo lead, Legette-Jack singled out another player for her defensive performance in the third quarter.

“I thought [sophomore guard] Katherine [Ups] helped ignite the defense,” Legette-Jack said. “She was locked in on trying to get touches and get deflections. It allowed Brittany [Morrison], [sophomore guard] Stephanie [Reid] and Joanna to get the ball, make plays and get the crowd into it.”

Buffalo’s impressive defensive performance Saturday wasn’t just about the 39 points allowed, but the way Buffalo stifled Miami Ohio’s offense. The RedHawks had just seven assists, compared to Buffalo’s 16 assists. When the Bulls weren’t forcing Miami Ohio into bad shots, the Bulls were forcing turnovers. The RedHawks finished with 18 turnovers, including five in the third quarter.

Smith finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists for the Bulls, while Moss added seven points and five rebounds off the bench. Freshman guard Brittany Morrison – who received the start at forward over sophomore Liisa Ups – finished with seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Reid scored just two points, but finished with six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Junior center Cassie Oursler also had a strong game as she finished with 16 points, six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes of play. Legette-Jack said Oursler has the ability to be a “20-10” player as she continues to develop. Oursler said it was the combination of Reid and Smith that helped her have a good game.

“There’s always a ton of pressure on Smith and Reid because they’re amazing players and when they’re driving, it opens some space more,” Oursler said. “They gave me good shots when I got on the block, so it pushed me to get good position on the block and be ready for the play. It was all easy shots, pretty much.”

The Bulls stay home to host Bowling Green at Alumni Arena on Wednesday. The Bulls defeated the Falcons last week when the Bulls grabbed a 63-50 victory on the road.

Wednesday’s 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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