UB women's basketball 3-0 for first time since 2000 with win over Massachusetts

Defense leads way again for Bulls in 56-48 win


With so much turnover this offseason, women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack talked of creating a “village” to help raise her young squad.

Seems like the Bulls (3-0) are already grownup though.

Buffalo defeated Massachusetts (1-2) 56-48 at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts Saturday to get its first 3-0 start to a season since the 2000-01 season. The Bulls have not allowed an opponent to score 50 points in a game this season.

“I’m so excited to see us work defensively,” Legette-Jack said. “[Massachusetts] is going to do some great things in the Atlantic 10. We played without fear on either side of the ball today and that was instrumental to today’s success.”

The Buffalo defense swarmed the floor and forced the Minutemen into bad shots and turnovers throughout the game. As a result, the Bulls forced 19 turnovers and the Minutemen attempted only six shots from three-point range. Legette-Jack said the turnovers “warmed [her] heart.”

She pointed to a moment in the game when sophomore forward Mariah Suchan had trouble with a player in the post so sophomore guard Katherine Ups helped her with the double team.

“All our players had their heads on a swivel after that,” Legette-Jack said. “That’s a sign this team is looking to thrive and be better than imagined. We begin our winning in the locker room.”

On the offensive side of the ball, eight Bulls scored a field goal. Junior guard Joanna Smith led the way with 21 points, nine rebounds, three steals and four three-pointers.

Smith struggled in the first two games, especially from three-point range, but she was a pure shooter from the perimeter Saturday. Smith went 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Jack was impressed with her guard’s overall play.

“I thought she had a tremendous job throughout the game, playing well on the glass, defending their guards well and helped us spacing the floor with four threes,” Legette-Jack said. “She’s been a great leader for us.”

Sophomore guard Stephanie Reid finished with 10 points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals while playing a team-high 37 minutes. Suchan had eight points, five rebounds and four steals.

With a 3-0 record and stout defensive play, the Bulls seem to be finding an identity in the nonconference schedule after losing almost all key contributors from last season’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) team. Still, Legette-Jack said the Bulls’ record doesn’t matter at the moment and the goal is to continue winning.

“All we’re trying to do is own the minute and take care of that hour,” Legette-Jack said. “I’m really am excited that we didn’t put this schedule together and all three teams were tough. The record is going to take care of itself.”

The Bulls will return home to face Cornell (2-1) on Wednesday at Alumni Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum. Follow him on Twitter at @Haynes_Spectrum.