The Bulls went into Alumni Arena on Wednesday night to take on the first place team in the Mid-American Conference, the Central Michigan Chippewas. The Bulls were able to get revenge for a past loss and hand the Chippewas their first loss in MAC play this season.
“We are a blue-collar team that can mix it up,” said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack in a postgame press conference. “We get after it, we get fouls, we climb peoples’ backs and after the first game [against the Chippewas], we held them accountable and tonight we were better than we were before today.”
The Chippewas (20-4, 12-1 MAC) were the last team to beat the Bulls (20-4, 11-2 MAC) heading into the game.
The Bulls had great performances from senior center Cassie Oursler and senior guard Stephanie Reid. Oursler finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Reid had 20 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds in the MAC conference game.
“Some people get emotional because they get roses or see their child and stuff,” Legette-Jack said. “To see these two people [Reid and Oursler] grow into who they are. … I am sitting next to two professional basketball players up here. No other way to say it.”
With this win, the Bulls are only one game behind the Chippewas in the MAC conference standings and hold onto their top spot in the East Division.
The first quarter was back and forth with neither team able to pick up momentum. At the end of the period, the teams were tied at 21-21.
Both teams remained strong on offense in the start of the second period, but neither were able to start a streak scoring. The Bulls were able to build a lead, making the score 48-46 at the half. Oursler had a strong half with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Junior forward Summer Hemphill led the Bulls in scoring in the first half with 11 points.
Offense slowed down for both teams in the third, but neither let up the defensive pressure. The Chippewas built momentum, getting their lead up to 6 at one point, but the Bulls made it a 60-62 Chippewas lead at the end of the period.
The Bulls got into trouble early in the fourth, having four fouls in the first four minutes of the period. The Bulls took the lead off a three pointer from junior guard Cierra Dillard with 3:58 remaining to make it a 75-72 game. The Bulls got closer to the win when Reid made a decisive layup with 17.2 seconds left to give the Bulls a 81-77 lead. When Oursler got an offensive rebound in the final seconds, the game was sealed.
“You got to keep the fans coming back,” Reid said. “I am usually a more clutch free throw shooter but Cassie had my back and got that board. When I saw her get it, I almost jumped on her.”
The Chippewas’ best performances came from junior guard Presley Hudson and junior forward Reyna Frost. The two combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds in Wednesday night’s game.
The Bulls were unable to stop the Chippewas’ starters from having big games. The Chippewas’ starters scored 66 of their total points. Buffalo also had a rough night at the freethrow line in the fourth period, shooting 4-7, almost costing the game.
Despite that, the Bulls were still able to outscore, out rebound and lead assists over the Chippewas.
“I think we all did a really good job of not giving them anything to work with like we did in the first game,” Oursler said. “I got high energy from my teammates out there and we got a really nice flow going.”
This marks the Bulls’ fourth straight win. The Bulls’ next game will be on Saturday against the Akron Zips (8-16, 2-11 MAC) at Alumni Arena with tipoff set for 1 p.m.
Thomas Zafonte is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas Zafonte is a senior English major. He is a UB sports fan and enjoys traveling around Buffalo.