UB women’s basketball upsets top-seeded Ohio for second time
Bulls hand Bobcats second conference loss of the season
It’s fair to say the Ohio Bobcats are the favorite to represent the Mid-American Conference in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. They’re the top team in the MAC and have just two conference losses on their résumé.
After Saturday, both of those losses have come against the Buffalo women’s basketball team.
For the second time this season, the Bulls (15-12, 7-9 MAC) defeated Ohio (22-5, 14-2 MAC), this time besting the Bobcats 70-58 in Athens, Ohio on Saturday afternoon. Buffalo defeated Ohio 51-43 in Alumni Arena on Feb. 3, and is the only MAC team to have beaten the Bobcats this season.
Buffalo is now on a three-game winning streak – its longest streak since it started the season 6-0. The Bulls have also allowed less than 60 points for the third straight game.
“Our kids locked in defensively,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “That’s where our whole team is predicated on – it’s the defense.”
Buffalo trailed by seven points entering halftime against one of the highest scoring teams in the league. The Bulls then dropped 44 points in the second half – 22 in each quarter – and held Ohio to just 25 points in the second half.
The Bulls forced the Bobcats to shoot 28.7 percent from the floor – the exact shooting percentage Ohio registered during their first meeting. A big reason for the paltry shooting percentage was the performance of Ohio star guard Kiyanna Black. Buffalo forced Black to shoot just 3 of 9 from three-point range.
Even though her three-point shot was off, her first bucket from beyond the arc Saturday made history. Black now holds the MAC record for most three-pointers in a single season.
While the Buffalo stepped up in the second half defensively, so did junior guard Joanna Smith and sophomore guard Stephanie Reid on the other side of the ball.
The backcourt duo combined for 42 points – both game-highs – on a combined 12-of-29 shooting. They were both perfect from the free-throw line (12 of 12). Smith was particularly impressive in the third quarter, where she scored nine points, all coming from beyond the arc. Overall she shot 5 of 10 from the perimeter.
Reid was equally as effective on offense. She had 21 points, seven rebounds, three steals and a career-high eight assists. Although her scoring was impressive, Legette-Jack thought this was her breakout game for a difference reason.
“She really handled the ball the whole time,” Legette-Jack said. “She’s turned into a true point guard.”
Sophomore guard Katherine Ups finished with 12 points, with 5-of-7 shooting from the field. Freshman forward Brittany Morrison added nine rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
The Bulls have now moved into a tie for eighth place with Western Michigan (15-13, 7-9 MAC) with two games remaining in the regular season. The Broncos are riding a three-game losing streak following their loss to Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
Next up for Buffalo is the team right above it in the MAC East standings, Akron (15-12, 9-7 MAC), on Wednesday night in Akron, Ohio. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Edward Goldschmid is a sports staff writer. Sports desk can be reached at email@example.com.