BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (1-0, 0-0 MAC) opened up their 2017-18 campaign in impressive fashion as they were able to run past the Delaware Blue Hens on Friday afternoon at Alumni Arena in front of 1,015 fans by the score of 87-73. The 87 points scored by the UB offense are the most points scored in a game since March 11, 2016 when UB beat Akron in the MAC semifinals, 88-87.
The difference in the game on Friday was the transition scoring in favor of the Bulls as they were able to hold the commanding 17-0 edge in fast break scoring on the day. When UB was in need of a bucket, the defense provided the Bulls with a spark and allowed the athletic squad to get out in transition and the Blue Hens weren't able to stop it all day long.
Buffalo had a slow start to the game as the Blue Hens raced out to the 7-1 lead just over three minutes into the game. A Stephanie Reid three-pointer broke the streak for the Blue Hens and Cierra Dillard was able to connect on her first career bucket to cut the Delaware lead to just four, 12-8. Courtney Wilkins then entered the game and on cue connected on a triple to cut the deficit to one before Dillard drilled her first triple to give UB their first lead of the game, 17-14. After a layup gave Delaware the 20-17 lead with a minute to go, Wilkins was able to drill a three at the buzzer after a nice feed from Reid to send the teams to the second knotted, 20-20.
The Bulls offense began to click in the second quarter as they were able to run out to a 10-point halftime lead after netting 29 second quarter points. The Blue Hens tied the game, 22-22, early in the second quarter and the Bulls never looked back as another Wilkins triple gave UB the 37-30 lead. Theresa Onwuka then made a pretty move and finished off a layup before Reid connected on four straight freebies to give Buffalo the 43-32 edge. After the Blue Hens drilled a three to cut the UB lead to eight, 47-39, Reid raced the length of the court and finished off an acrobatic layup just before the halftime buzzer to give UB the 49-39 lead through 20 minutes.
The offense opened up the second half like they did the first as Dillard knocked down a pair of triples assisted by Reid to give UB the 58-40 lead. Buffalo was then able to extend their lead to a game-high 23 points as Reid found Dillard in transition for a three-pointer. Freshman Hanna Hall was able to sink a free throw for her first collegiate point and Delaware closed the scoring in the quarter with a jumper as UB headed to the final quarter leading 71-54.
The Blue Hens were able to fight back early on in the fourth quarter as Samone DeFreese made a layup to cut the Buffalo lead to 10, 75-65 with 5:00 minutes left in the game. The Bulls wouldn't let the Blue Hens get any closer down the stretch as Wilkins banked in a jumper and Reid made a layup to close out the scoring and the win for the Bulls.
Dillard had a strong first impression for the Bulls on Friday as she led all players with 17 points on 6-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-7 from deep. The Rochester, native also finished with six assists and six steals in 29 minutes of action. Reid was consistent as usual for the Bulls as she netted 16 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and four steals across 38 minutes while Wilkins scored 16 points, five rebounds and two steals off the UB bench. Cassie Oursler was very efficient in her 17 minutes of action as she scored 14 points on 6-for-9 from the floor while notching four blocks.
The Buffalo defense was able to force 23 turnovers on Friday and they turned those into 29 points. The Blue Hens outrebounded the Bulls 46-38 for the game but UB was able to outscore Delaware 15-11 in second chance points. The Bulls shot 44.8% from the floor and 42.3% from behind the arc while Delaware shot 36.7% from the floor and just 11.8% from behind the arc in the loss.
The Bulls will now have a quick turnaround as they will return to the Alumni Arena court on Monday night at 7:00 pm as they welcome the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks. The game will air live on ESPN3 with Paul Peck and Amy Audibert on the call.