17-0 start ignites highest-scoring game of the season
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 19:03
A day after the men’s basketball team pulled off arguably its biggest home victory ever, the women’s hoops team put on a senior day performance that Alumni Arena won’t soon forget.
The Bulls (10-18, 8-7 Mid-American Conference) defeated Kent State (3-25, 1-13 MAC) 81-45, scoring a season high in points and allowing only nine first-half points.
The victory marks Buffalo’s fourth win by 20 or more points this season.
“We’ve been building up to this moment for the entire year,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “We’ve been learning lessons, getting kicked in the head, teeth and back, but we have kept getting back up and fighting.”
The Bulls began the game with a 17-0 run, as the Golden Flashes missed their first eight shots of the afternoon. They didn’t hit a field goal until the 11:54 mark, and Buffalo retained the momentum for the remainder of the game.
Four different players scored in double figures for Buffalo, including freshman guard Mackenzie Loesing, who led the way with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Her backcourt mates – junior guard Margeaux Gupilan and freshman guard Karin Moss – had 11 points apiece, and junior forward Cherridy Thornton added 11. Nine different Bulls scored.
“Everyone got involved tonight, which is something that is really good for our team,” Loesing said. “Everyone got playing time, which is a goal we set each game.”
Buffalo shot 49.2 percent from the field, including 58.1 percent in its 50-point second half. The squad shot 10 for 22 from behind the arc as well.
The Bulls’ lead never dipped under 23 points in the second half and the team earned its largest lead in any game all season – 37 points. Buffalo gave up only 18 points in the paint and outrebounded the Golden Flashes, 45-34.
“We were really clicking today,” said senior guard Nicki Hopkins. “Everyone was distributing the ball and working really hard offensively and defensively, so I think that really helped us get into a flow.”
Kent State’s nine points in the first half marked the fewest Buffalo has surrendered in a first half all season. Kent State shot just 4 of 24 from the field to start and stockpiled 14 first-half turnovers en route to a 31-9 halftime score in favor of Buffalo.
The stingy Buffalo ‘D’ held Kent State to only 25.5 percent shooting from the field on the day. Guard Ashley Evans’ 12 points led the Golden Flashes.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever been a part of a team that really locked in defense like that,” Legette-Jack said.
Hopkins recorded a career-high seven assists while playing 38 minutes in one of her final games at Alumni Arena; Sunday’s game was Senior Day.
“The girls got a little emotional,” Hopkins said. “Even a little before the game, also, and I said: ‘Hey, we need to focus on the game.’ It was a great atmosphere. A lot of kids were here today playing and a lot of people came here supporting me. It was a great Senior Day for me.”
Sophomore forward Christa Bacccas’ contributions were felt throughout the stat sheet as she recorded eight points, six rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals.
The Bulls look to ride a two-game win streak into the MAC Tournament when they face Akron (20-8, 11-4 MAC) at Alumni Arena on March 6. Game time is set for 7 p.m.