Bulls struggle to keep up with Chippewas’ strong offense
Cherridy Thornton (41) led the Bulls' offense with 22 points, but it was not enough, as they fell to Central Michigan 86-51 on Sunday. Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum
Two teams met on Sunday - both only one game out of first place in their respective divisions in the Mid-American Conference. One team proved its dominance while the other failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
The Bulls (7-16, 5-5 MAC) dropped their third consecutive game at Central Michigan (14-9, 8-2 MAC), 86-51. It was only the third time this season a team scored over 80 points on the Bulls' defense.
Buffalo struggled offensively throughout the contest, putting up its third fewest points of the season and shooting 29.2 percent (20.8 percent from behind the arc), ultimately accounting for just 19 field goals in the game.
"We saw the big gorilla and we said, 'Oh no, we are scared of the gorilla,'" said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "We can't do that. This team was clearly better than us, and I think they can represent us and the MAC in the NCAAs."
The Chippewas snapped a two-game losing streak of their own with the victory. The squad began MAC play with seven straight wins. Against Buffalo, CMU scored early and often, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and outrebounding Buffalo 52-30.
Guard Crystal Bradford led Central Michigan with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Forward Jas'Mine Bracey scored 18 off the bench and guard Jessica Green added 17.
"We did not attack them in the first," Legette-Jack said. "It didn't seem like we belonged with them on the court. It was disheartening."
Central Michigan's 19-0 run late in the second half resulted in a 38-point lead, the largest of the afternoon. The Chippewas outscored the Bulls 48-26 in the second.
Junior forward Cherridy Thornton was the only UB player to record double-digit points with 22, a career-high. Sophomore center Christa Baccas finished with eight points and seven assists.
The upcoming week will mark the Bulls' longest break of season, as the team has six days off. Legette-Jack stressed that her team needs to take advantage of the rest period.
"These guys are so tired right now," Legette-Jack said. "Thank God they have some time to themselves. They need some time to get healthy, get their legs underneath them and be normal students. I don't want them coming near the gym for the next two days."
It has been a tiring couple weeks for the team, which has bounced back and forth between Buffalo and the mid-west. In a competitive conference, the Bulls will need all the rest they can get.
"I have never seen anything like this," Legette-Jack said regarding her team's travel situation. "It's taxing on these kids. My hope is to get money donated and a flight or two out of this. We come home for a few days, then it's seven hours to Eastern Michigan. We have to figure out how to make it work."
The Bulls look to make the most of the rest before returning to the road as they travel to take on Eastern Michigan (6-17, 4-6 MAC) on Saturday. Game time is set for 2 p.m.
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