The women’s basketball team may have the youngest roster in the Mid-American Conference this year but they aren’t playing like it.
It seemed the Mercyhurst Lakers had no chance against the Bulls, who held a substantial lead for the entire introductory 96-44 exhibition at Alumni Arena on Friday night. Their strong offense stretched the lead to as many as 52 points by the end, paired with a defense that forced 27 turnovers.
The defending MAC champions showed off a new lineup following the graduation of five seniors last season — most notably guard Cierra Dillard who led the team in scoring last season and went on to enter the WNBA draft.
UB showed its roster’s depth throughout the victory, as 12 different players contributed to the team’s 96 points.
Freshman guard Dyaisha Fair made her presence known in her debut game for the Bulls, earning her spot as leading scorer for the night. Fair put up 18 points and was five for five from behind the free-throw line.
The freshman said she is adjusting by “getting the feel” of her teammates.
Fair wasn’t the only rookie to put points on the board for UB. All four freshmen contributed to the win — center Elea Gaba (4 points), forward Loren Christie (5 points) and guard Jessika Schiffer (10 points). This output from the younger members shows promise for the new roster.
“We have a great freshman class coming in [and] the sophomores are stepping up so everyone is doing what they have to do every day,” senior guard Theresa Onwuka said following the victory.
The returners are not phased by their leadership roles. One of only two returning seniors, Onwuka showed her comfort on the court on Friday. She went six for seven in field goal attempts, earning 12 points, and tied sophomore forward Keowa Walters with the second-most points scored for the night.
Junior guard Hanna Hall is another returner looking to uphold the team’s presence in the MAC. Hall had 11 points, 4 assists and 3 steals on the night. She ended her sophomore season earning All-MAC tournament honors after starting in 27 games and will move into an even larger role in her third year for the program.
With Friday night’s performance, Coach Felisha Legette-Jack is hopeful for the season and is always looking for areas her team can improve.
“Our defense has to get a little bit better but it looks like we can score the basketball, so I’m really excited about the future of this women’s basketball program,” Jack said.
The Bulls will be in action again Tuesday night at Alumni Arena as they take on Central Connecticut State for their season opener.
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Myah Gonzalez is an asst. sports editor at The Spectrum.