BUFFALO, NY - For the second straight game at home, it would come down to the final possession for the UB women's basketball team, and for the second straight game the team would come through. This time Karin Moss would provide the dramatics, going coast-to-coast to score with four seconds left to give the Bulls (12-7, 5-3 MAC) a 58-56 win over Miami (OH) Thursday night.
Margeaux Gupilan would score a season-high 20 points to lead the team to its fifth straight win in Mid-American Conference play, the second-longest streak in the team's 16 seasons in the MAC and just one away from matching six-game record mark that was set in 2002-03.
Similar to the suspenseful win over Eastern Michigan on Jan. 18, the Bulls would allow the opposition to cut into a double-digit lead late after Miami (6-13, 2-6 MAC) went on a 12-2 run from the 3:38 mark in the second half until Moss' game-winner. The Bulls were up 56-51 with a minute to go before the Redhawks sank a three pointer to make it a one-possession game. They would then tie it after a foul with 13 seconds left and made both. Moss would take the inbounds pass and take it the length of the floor with little hesitation, driving up the heart of the paint for the score.
"I know that I'm quicker than the defenders and I've been getting by them all game, and I figured 'you know what, let's just finish it right now,' so I took it to the hole," Moss said of her winner.
The frenetic finish belied what was a slow-paced game on both sides, with the Bulls leaning on their senior point guard to carry them through the opening half. Neither team would score for the first three minutes of play, and once the scoring started it became a three-point shooting contest. The Bulls would make four while Miami made three, and the first point scored that did not come from deep would finally come at 11:26 in the half.
Gupilan would miss her first attempt from three, but then rallied back to make six of the next seven attempts, including 4-4 from the 14:29 mark of the half until the buzzer sounded. She would sneak one in late, hitting a three at the buzzer to send the crowd to its feet and the team to the locker room with a 30-20 halftime advantage. The Redhawks would shoot just 17 percent in the opening half, while Gupilan matched her season high of 18 in just 20 minutes.
The Redhawks would focus on Kristen Sharkey, who went for 36 in the team's win at Ball State Sunday, and Gupilan would hurt them for it.
"Everytime I looked into the post there were three people on her (Sharkey)," Gupilan said. "I felt like they're backing up to triple team her so I have to relieve some pressure and I just felt it today."
In the second half, Mackenzie Loesing would take over the scoring duties and scored 14 of her 19 total points over the final 20 minutes. Buffalo would get a boost defensively from Christa Baccas, who would swat a career-high eight shots in the game, with the team putting up 12 total in the game. The Redhawks would shoot just 25.4 percent in the game, the lowest percentage any opponent has had all season. Buffalo would force 19 turnovers and allow just 16 made field goals in the game, as Miami would hang in thanks to a 15-shot advantage at the free throw line, making 13 more in the game.
Aside from her season-best scoring performance, Gupilan would surpass a pair of career milestones in the win. She went over 500 career points, and also 300 career assists. Only nine players in program history have gone over the mark, and she is just nine more from moving into eighth place on the career chart.
The team prepares for what will be its biggest game of the season to date, traveling to Akron to face the Zips this Sunday afternoon. Both teams are 5-3 in conference play, and both are carrying win streaks into the matchup. Tip off is scheduled for 2 pm.