MOUNT PLEASANT, MI - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (11-3, 1-2 MAC) dropped their second straight MAC game on Saturday afternoon on the road at Central Michigan, 88-71. Freshman Theresa Onwuka finished off her first career start with a team-high 15 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two assists, her first career double-double.
The deciding factor of the game was free throw shooting as the Chippewas attempted an unheard-of 40 free throws while netting 37 in the game. The tightly refereed game saw UB whistled for 31 fouls as three UB players fouled out of the game.
The first quarter was much better for the Bulls on Saturday against the Chippewas as Cassie Oursler and Theresa Onwuka made layups to open the scoring for the Bulls. UB fell behind 11-4 after three straight layups by the Chippewas before the Bulls made a quick 8-0 run to take the 12-11 edge behind an Oursler layup and free throw, a JoAnna Smith three pointer and a Summer Hemphill jumper in the paint. Central Michigan regained the 17-14 lead before Courtney Wilkins drilled her first triple of the game to knot the score, 17-17. The Bulls weren't able to lead down the final three minutes of the first as the Chippewas closed the quarter on an 8-4 run to take the 25-21 edge after the first quarter.
The Bulls started off the second quarter strong as Wilkins drilled a triple and Reid made a jumper from just outside the paint to cut the CMU lead to one, 29-28. The Chippewas responded with a quick 7-0 run to push their lead out to 36-28 before Brittany Morrison grabbed an offensive rebound and finished off a layup. Over the final three minutes of the half, the Chippewas outscored UB 6-2 as they took the 42-32 lead into the locker room.
The third quarter was a high scoring affair for both sides as they each netted 25 points. Oursler opened the scoring with a layup and then an old fashion three-point play before CMU finished off a layup. A pair of free throws gave the Chippewas the 52-37 lead before Katherine Ups hit a three and Hemphill finished off a layup after a nice feed from Smith. Ayoleka Sodade made a strong move and finished off the three-point play to cut the CMU lead to 61-50 and then Onwuka took over the scoring down the stretch of the quarter. Onwuka connected on three straight shots including a buzzer beating jumper to end the third quarter as UB trailed 67-57 after 30 minutes.
UB opened the fourth quarter slow as they didn't score their first point until four minutes into play as Smith hit a free throw that made the score 73-58 in favor of the home team. UB couldn't get any closer than 14 down the stretch as the Chippewas put the game away at the free throw line.
Onwuka was very impressive in her first career start as she was able to lead UB in scoring with 15 and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. The freshman was also all over the place on the defensive end of the court, notching a season-high three steals. Reid had herself a solid game as she finished with 11 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals while Smith netted 11 points and two steals. Oursler was the fourth UB player to notch double digits in scoring as she had 11 points while Hemphill finished off her first career start with six points and 11 rebounds, her second career double digit rebounding effort.
For the game, Central Michigan went to the charity stripe a season-high 40 times while making 37 attempts. Buffalo won the rebounding battle 42-38 but the Chippewas were able to grab 12 offensive rebounds that they turned into 19 second chance points. UB turned the ball over 19 times while Central Michigan had 18 turnovers.
Buffalo will return to the hardwood on Wednesday, January 11 as they welcome the Toledo Rockets to Alumni Arena for a conference showdown at 7:00 pm. The game will air live on Time Warner Cable Sports and ESPN3 and can be heard on ESPN1520 starting at 6:30 pm.