Bulls beat Zips at Alumni Arena 85-71

Women's basketball team picks up fifth straight win

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The Bulls remain a perfect 11-0 at home this season with their win at this year’s annual Pink Game. With this win, the Bulls booked a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference championship.

This win keeps the Bulls (21-4, 12-2 MAC) one game behind current top-ranked MAC team, the Central Michigan Chippewas (21-4, 13-1 MAC). The Bulls have guaranteed a tie for first place in the East division.

“What an exciting time here at Buffalo,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “I think we are 20-1 here [Alumni Arena] for men’s and women’s basketball. We came locked-in to move the needle for Buffalo’s athletic department and we are just trying to do our part.”

Both teams wore pink in support of breast cancer awareness for the conference matchup. Sophomore forward Summer Hemphill led the game in scoring and boards with 18 points and 9 rebounds, shooting 9-15 in Saturday afternoon’s game. Senior guard Stephanie Reid led the team on the court and in assists with her 10 point and 10 assist double-double.

“I know they like their assists so I put the ball up and try to get us our stats,” Hemphill said. “I feel I have gained more confidence out on the court, being able to put my trust in [Legette-Jack] and the team.”

The first period saw moments where the Bulls started to streak offensively, only for the Zips (8-17, 2-12 MAC) to fire back and keep the game close. The Bulls were able to make their lead 18-10 with three minutes remaining, but couldn’t continue the scoring. The period ended 21-16.

The second period played out similar to the first, with the Bulls outscoring the Zips 21-14 to make it 42-30 at the half. Hemphill led at the half in scoring with 12 points. Junior guard Cierra Dillard had an all-around performance in the first half with 5 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. She would finish the game with 13 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds.

The third saw the Bulls build upon the lead with a strong late-period scoring performance, but the Zips tried to keep it close on defense. The Bulls were able to make their lead 63-43 with 1:21 left in the period off strong threes from junior guard Autumn Jones. The Zips stayed in it to make it 63-48 at the end of the period.

With 7:05 remaining in the game and the score at 69-54, Legette-Jack was livid with her team’s late-game performance, looking for them to close the game out. The Bulls would go on to have an even period going 16-17 in scoring with the Zips.

“I thought that everybody brought it,” Reid said. “I wasn’t having the best runs, but when I saw Hanna [Hall, freshman guard] pushing, that gave me the drive to move even when I struggled.”

The Zips struggled shooting all day, going 25-65. The Zips’ top scorer was freshman guard Destiny Perkins with 17 points who shot 6-17 from the court.

Legette-Jack’s biggest concern with her team’s performance came from their defense. Legette-Jack said the team showed issues defending in transition.

“I was surprised with how they would explode out when they would get the ball and we couldn’t keep up,” Legette-Jack said. “We got to get better on transition defense because they would have scored a lot more on us if they could have.”

The Bulls’ next game will be on Wednesday on the road against the Bowling Green Falcons (10-14, 2-11 MAC) with tipoff set for 7 p.m.

Thomas Zafonte is the senior sports editor and can be reached at thomas.zafonte@ubspectrum.com.