Legette-Jack blames officiating in UB women’s basketball’s 62-49 loss

Offense stalls in final quarter against Zips


There have been plenty of reasons why the Buffalo women’s basketball team’s season hasn’t gone as planned.

Inexperience, poor shooting, lack of rebounding and even bad defense at times could all be the culprit. But a new reason surfaced for the Bulls on Wednesday: the officiating.

At least that’s what head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said.

“We were attacking and we were going into the lane and we can’t control the way the game is being called, but we were attacking just the same as Akron,” Legette-Jack said. “It was just interesting how it wasn’t called the same. Some of the calls, some of the things that were and weren’t being called, it was interesting.”

The Bulls (15-13, 7-10 MAC) fell to Akron (16-12, 10-7 MAC) 62-49 at the James A. Rhodes Arena – which snapped a three-game winning streak. The Bulls faltered in the second half, scoring just seven points in the fourth quarter. Buffalo is still third in the MAC East and is tied for seventh place with Western Michigan (15-14, 7-10 MAC) in the overall conference standings.

Buffalo got just four free throw attempts Wednesday, while Akron got 25 shots from the line.

Legette-Jack was infuriated after the game because of the officiating. She claimed the officials did not have “a real grasp on how the flow of the game was” and thinks it affected the team’s psyche.

The Bulls, while looking for more scoring and more shooting this season, did continue to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Against the Zips, the Bulls looked like they were once again shutting down an opponent, holding Akron to 33 percent shooting, 27 percent from three-point range and just 24 points all in the first half.

It was a poor second half, paired with some perhaps questionable officiating, that ultimately lost Buffalo the game.

The Bulls allowed Akron to score 22 points in the third quarter that allowed the Zips to extend their lead to double digits. Buffalo’s offense couldn’t help keep the lead close either, scoring 13 points and not shooting the ball well either. The Bulls finished with 29 percent shooting from the field and 19 percent from three-point range for the game.

Junior guard Joanna Smith finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and two steals. Junior center Cassie Oursler had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Senior guard Karin Moss finished with six points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals. Smith and Oursler both fouled out with five fouls. Moss finished with four.

After the game, Legette-Jack credited Oursler and Smith for their performances, despite such a reaction about the referees.

“I’m shocked one of our players was able to get a double-double with the way the game was called,” Legette-Jack said. “For them to get their games going in the midst of that game, hats off to them. I think [Smith] showed that she was one of the best players in this conference.”

The Bulls finish the 2015-16 regular season with a home game against Kent State (6-21, 3-14 MAC) at Alumni Arena. The last time the Bulls and Golden Flashes met, the Bulls won 77-66 on Jan. 9.

With one game and a play-in game looming for the Bulls, Jack wants to one more important improvement for the Bulls and that’s working on playing better against zone defenses.

“We have to play against the zone a lot better, we’ve shown that we’re a bit inconsistent when opponents get into a zone against us,” Legette-Jack said. “We got out of our flow [Wednesday] and this isn’t the first time. We need to get a little bit better if we want to win on Monday and make a run in the tournament.”

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Senior Karin Moss and former guard Mackenzie Loesing, who retired early due to chronic ankle injuries, will be honored before the game for the team’s Senior Day.

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