Gregory’s gutsy performance leaves Bulls just short
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 19:12
Alumni Arena saw a breakout performance from Rachael Gregory. The freshman forward was called upon heavily by the women’s basketball team on Wednesday night, and she proved up for the task.
Despite Gregory’s 18 points, the Bulls (1-8) dropped their sixth consecutive game in their Big Four matchup with St. Bonaventure (5-5). The 64-55 defeat marked Buffalo’s sixth consecutive loss to the Bonnies, with their last win dating back to 2006.
Gregory’s 18 points and 13 rebounds both set career highs. More impressively, 10 of her 13 rebounds were offensive, many resulting in put-back layups. It was her first career double-double as well.
“Rachael’s a special kid,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “She is an aggressive player that has the will of a lion and we need to have a lot more people like Rachael to represent Buffalo in order for us to get this team out of the basement.”
The Bulls started off quick with contributions from everyone on the court. All five starters for Buffalo scored within the first five minutes of the game. Freshman guard Karin Moss hit her first two shots from deep to give the Bulls an early 17-9 lead. They extended their lead to 20-11 with just a little over nine minutes remaining in the half.
But the Bulls looked like an entirely different squad for the final nine minutes of the first half.
After shooting 7 for 13 to start the game, they finished the half hitting only one of their final 15 shots, including a nine-minute stretch in which they failed to record a field goal.
“Being able to build up a [nine]-point lead against a team like this was a really exciting thing to do, but now the next thing is being able to hold onto it,” Legette-Jack said. “This is a team that is going to continue to fight, continue to get better. This is a team that doesn’t know how to hold onto a lead yet and we, for the first time, received a lead.”
In the second half, Gregory decided she was going to take over on the inside, continuously scrapping underneath the boards.
“I just wanted to take advantage of my quickness, going to the basket and hopefully when they start collapsing on me, I can get my teammates open as well,” Gregory said.
Her antagonistic play inside led to a 9-0 run during the second half, which gave the Bulls life.
However, it would be St. Bonaventure’s Ashley Zahn who decided the fate of this game. Zahn scored 19 of St. Bonaventure’s final 23 points, shooting 3-for-4 from behind the arc, as Buffalo saw its two-point lead turn into a seven-point deficit in a matter of minutes.
“We knew the shooters and we just had brain farts, but we will continue to address it and continue to get better,” Legette-Jack said.
Zahn went 6 for 6 at the free-throw line to secure the game for the Bonnies. She finished with 19 points, all coming in the final seven minutes of play.
Sophomore forward Christa Baccas finished with nine points and nine rebounds, coming in just shy of a double-double. The last time the Bulls had two players with double-doubles in the same game was Dec. 22, 2011.
Gregory talked about what the team needs to do for these games to result in victories.
“The game is going to be won off a 50/50 ball and you don’t want to wonder, ‘what if I had gotten that extra possession,’ so you want to get it,” Gregory said. “Period.”
Gregory’s play excited Legette-Jack, leaving her to make a bold prediction about Gregory’s potential.
“Rachael could arguably be one of the best players in this conference that ever came through [Buffalo],” Legette-Jack said.
Up next for the Bulls is another doubleheader on Saturday night with the men’s team. Game time is set for 5 p.m. against Binghamton (0-8) in Alumni Arena.