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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Leavin' for Cleveland

Bulls trample Cardinals to advance in MAC tourney

The women's basketball team will head to the Mid-American Conference Quarterfinals thanks to a memorable performance from its seniors on Saturday night.

The Bulls (16-14, 8-8 MAC) evened their home record at 7-7 in the final game at Alumni Arena this season with an important win over Ball State (9-21, 4-12 MAC). Buffalo cashed in on 22 Cardinals turnovers for 22 points in an 82-73 victory over Ball State.

Four Bulls players scored in double figures in the win. Senior forward Kourtney Brown led the assault with 27 points. Buffalo managed to get its first win of the season when getting outrebounded.

In the Bulls' last outing, they suffered a loss. Head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald felt that they lacked tenacity. Aside from the rebounding disadvantage in this game, she had no doubts about how tenacious they played today.

"[The tenacity] was definitely there for all 40 minutes," Hill MacDonald said. "It was really good to see it. [The Bulls] had that look in their eye. Our ability to rebound the ball is a strength of ours and obviously one of Ball State's objectives was to take that strength away and they did it. They put two people on Kourtney so she couldn't get [to the rebounds]."

In the first half, Ball State committed 14 turnovers to Buffalo's six. Senior guard Ashley Zuber was very efficient in the game, turning the ball over just once while getting six assists and scoring six points.

Senior forward Bridgette Kendricks contributed 10 points in the game to go with her seven rebounds and four assists.

The Cardinals had a decent shooting night, posting a 53 percent mark from the field, including 42 percent from 3-point range. Buffalo was 46 percent from the field and just 26 percent from downtown, with five 3-pointers made.

The Bulls' second leading scorer, junior guard Brittany Hedderson, was responsible for three of those bombs as she shot 50 percent from beyond the arc and finished with 16 points. Senior guard Jessica Fortman finished right behind Hedderson with 15 points and a game-high four steals.

Coming into the game, Fortman was prepared to match up against the Cardinals' post players and took the opportunity to display her defensive abilities. She credited other Bulls' players for contributing to her steals total.

"I think I grabbed some of my teammates' tips," Fortman said. "I knew I was going to have to play inside on some of [Ball State's] bigger girls, so I really had to focus on that because I knew it was going to be a challenge."

Fortman was tied with Zuber for assists in the game with six, which was also a game-high.

Cardinals' guard Ty'Ronda Benning stepped up for her team by depositing 20 points in the losing effort. Ball State's leading scorer, Emily Maggert, was limited to five points in the game and fouled out late in the game.

Brown grabbed nine rebounds in the game and swatted four Ball State attempts, which was essential in containing Maggert.

"We talked about them being physical," Brown said. "We also needed to be physical right back at them."

The next round will be in Cleveland, Ohio where the Bulls will face Central Michigan (19-9, 11-5 MAC) in a rematch of a close, but high scoring game that Buffalo won earlier this season. The game is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. tipoff on Wednesday.

E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


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