UB Women's basketball team falls to Central Michigan in Loesing's milestone night
Bulls falter in second half, falling to 0-2 in MAC play
The women's basket ball team were poised to snap Central Michigan’s Mid-American Conference home winning streak - a streak that spanned back to February of last season.
Buffalo had a one-point lead at the half and were outplaying the Chippewas in many facets of the game. Central Michigan exited the first half with no free-throw attempts, no three-pointers and 13 turnovers.
But the Bulls (7-6, 0-2 MAC) couldn’t take care of business as Central Michigan (7-6, 2-0 MAC) defeated Buffalo 66-58 on Wednesday night at the McGuirk Arena in Moint Pleasant, Michigan. The loss drops the Bulls to a 0-2 start to MAC play - their second consecutive 0-2 conference start in as many seasons.
The Bulls failed to capitalize on the Central Michigan’s shooting woes Wednesday – the Chippewas rank third in the MAC in three-point field goal percentage (32.8 percent). The Chippewas were held to one three-pointer (1-of-17) and only went to the line once in the first half. The Bulls shot just 36.4 percent from the floor and turned the ball over eleven times in the first half.
But in the second half, the Bulls began to break down defensively.
The Chippewas came out aggressive, garnering 22 free-throw attempts in the second half, converting on 17 of them. Central Michigan fine-tuned their offense with just six turnovers in the half. The Bulls were outscored 36-27 in the second half.
“I’ll let you know a bit more when I watch the film,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack regarding the second-half defensive difficulties. “Both teams were physical, touching and grabbing each other on defense. We played the same kind of basketball and an 11-22 free-throw discrepancy was the outcome…We have to continue to learn and how to play defense in those situations.”
The Bulls finished the game shooting 30.4 percent from the floor and 23.3 percent from beyond the arc. Despite that, Legette-Jack believes the offense is on the verge of a breakthrough.
“We’re getting better. It’s all about baby steps,” Legette-Jack said. “We’re used to shooting 20 percent out there, so moving up to 30 percent is good. I would love to take a leap, but baby steps are great. We played a tough opponent with a special player and couldn’t keep up offensively, but I believe the team is moving in the right direction.”
In the loss, junior guard Mackenzie Loesing recorded her 1000th career point and 100th career three-pointer made. She finished with 24 points to lead the team, two rebounds, and two assists. Senior forward Kristen Sharkey finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. For coach Legette-Jack, it was a special night for Loesing, even in a loss.
“Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls said when asked about his shooting slump, ‘You keep playing and you keep shooting’ and that’s what Mackenzie has done so far this season,” Legette-Jack said. “Even when she wasn’t shooting well, she was fighting for good shots and never gave up on the defensive end. As she turns the corner, she’s a player we’re going to rely on for similar production moving forward. The numbers speak for themselves: 1000 career points and 100 threes in three seasons. Remarkable player.”
Junior forward Christa Baccas finished with 10 rebounds and four points. Sophomore forward Alexus Malone finished with a team-high 12 rebounds off of the bench.
The Bulls continue conference play with a game against MAC East counterpart Miami Ohio (2-10, 0-2 MAC) on Saturday in Oxford, Ohio. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.