Barricading the Bobcats
Bulls post record defensive performance, best Ohio
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 22:02
When the women’s basketball team hosted Ohio in January, it resulted in Buffalo’s largest victory in over three years and its best rebounding performance since 2004.
Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack didn’t want the team’s first matchup to allow for a letdown in the second affair.
The Bulls (9-17, 7-6 Mid-American Conference) avoided the trap, as they defeated the Bobcats (6-19, 1-12 MAC), 56-35, on Saturday afternoon in Alumni Arena.
“We talk about many things other than basketball [during pre-game],” Legette-Jack said. “We talked about you never know when it will be your time to shine, so you have to always be ready. If we talked about this as a trap game it could get us nervous.”
Buffalo allowed 35 points, the fewest since Dec. 6, 2006.
“Our goal is always to hold a team to under 59 points, but when we went into the locker room after holding them to 15, we changed our goals,” Legette-Jack said. “We wanted to hold them to under 40 points.”
Buffalo allowed 15 points in the opening half, its second fewest all season.
The Bulls’ defense held the Bobcats to 17.9 percent shooting in the half and 24.1 percent for the game, including 2 of 17 – 11.8 percent – from behind the arc.
Ohio’s leading scorer, guard Kiyanna Black, was held scoreless by the Buffalo defense and missed all of her seven shots and recording only one point.
The Bulls are the only team that has held the Bobcats to under 40 points.
Buffalo’s frontcourt dominated the paint, scoring 24 points and outrebounding Ohio 43-36.
“I like the fact that the game started with the inside-out,” Legette-Jack said. “We put [Rachel] Sharkey on the block and that really opened up chances to score.”
The Bulls’ offense was equally as effective as the defense. Buffalo moved the ball well and it showed – the team had 19 assists on 22 field goals, led by senior guard Nicki Hopkins (six assists) and junior forward Cherridy Thornton (five).
Sophomore guard Sloane Walton came off the bench to lead the Bulls with 14 points while hitting four 3-pointers.
“We started putting a lot of different people in and trying other combinations,” Legette-Jack said. “The kids are getting better with the more play time and it takes time for everyone to get into the rhythm. We played very unselfishly today.”
Buffalo shot 40.7 percent from the field and hit nine threes en route to its victory.
Sophomore forward Christa Baccas recorded six points and grabbed 12 rebounds. She anchored the Bulls’ defense as well, seizing four of Buffalo’s nine steals and swatting away two shots.
The Bulls will travel to Bowling Green (17-8, 8-4 MAC) on Thursday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.