BUFFALO, NY – Playing in their lone home game in the month of December, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team (6-1, 0-0 MAC) was able to impress their home fans with a dominant 73-46 victory over Big 4 foe Canisius on Thursday night. Sophomore Summer Hemphill continued her strong play as she netted 14 points, six rebounds and five steals in UB's fifth straight win over the Canisius Golden Griffins.
The Bulls completely dominated a couple of key categories on Thursday as they were able to own the paint, outscoring the Griffins 34-6. UB continued to dominate in the open court as they won the fast break category by the score of 14-0 while also holding the 16-4 edge in second chance scoring as they held their third opponent to under 50 points.
It was a slow start offensively for the Bulls in the first quarter as a Sara Hinriksdottir three-pointer gave the Griffs the early 8-5 lead. Buffalo then used a pair of layups from Summer Hemphill and Mariah Suchan to spark a 5-0 run to give UB the 10-8 lead with just over a minute left. Canisius drew within three with a jumper inside a minute but Autumn Jones drilled a triple to give UB the 13-10 lead through 10 minutes.
The Bulls never looked back after taking the three-point lead into the second quarter as they put together their best 10 minutes of the game. The Griffs cut the UB lead to one, 15-14, with 8:16 left in the half but the Bulls responded with a quick 6-0 spurt as Cierra Dillard drilled her first triple of the game and Brittany Morrison finished off a fast break layup after a nice feed from Theresa Onwuka. A Canisius jumper cut the UB lead to five but the Bulls responded again with a 5-0 run as Hemphill provided the spark with a jumper and layup to give Buffalo the 26-16 lead. Dillard stole the show over the next two minutes as she notched a steal and finished off an old fashion three-point play as she hit the layup and got fouled. She then notched another steal and threw a no look pass to a cutting Katherine Ups who finished off a fast break layup, forcing a Canisius timeout with UB ahead, 31-19. Marissa Hamilton closed out the first half with her first triple of the game to send the teams to the locker rooms with UB ahead, 36-22.
Buffalo extended their lead out to 22 with an 8-0 run to open the third quarter as they received a pair of buckets from Cassie Oursler, a jumper from Dillard and a jumper from Hemphill. The Griffs didn't go away as they notched back-to-back three-pointers to cut the UB lead back down to 15 with three minutes to go in the quarter. The two sides played even over the final three minutes as Olivia Vernon hit a jumper to finish the scoring for Canisius as they headed to the fourth trailing UB 52-36.
The two sides were even through the first three minutes of the fourth quarter before a Maria Welch free throw brought the Griffs within 15, 58-43. UB didn't let the visitors get any closer as they were able to go on a 9-0 run to put the game away as three different UB players recorded layups and Dillard capped the run with a deep triple to put UB up 24, 69-45. A Courtney Wilkins three-pointer in the final minutes gave UB their biggest lead of the night, 27 points, as they cruised to their sixth win of the season, 73-47.
The Bulls saw three players' score in double figures on Thursday as Hemphill finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five steals while shooting 6-for-7 from the floor. Dillard did a little bit of everything for UB as she posted 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals across 30 minutes while Oursler capped off her night with 14 points, two rebounds and two assists as she went 6-for-11 from the floor. Senior Katherine Ups continued to stabilize the Bulls as she chipped in with seven points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals in just 23 minutes of work.
As a team, UB was able to shoot 38.9% from the floor while they held the Griffs to just 33.3% shooting as Buffalo is now 6-0 on the season when shooting a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent. The MAC-leading UB defense was able to force 26 Canisius turnovers and turned those chances into 25 points off turnover. The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in six of seven games including in each of the last four games.
UB was able to clean the glass in their sixth win of the season as they outrebounded the Griffs 49-37 while also adding 22 assists on 28 made field goals, marking the fourth game this season they have notched 20+ assists in a game.
The Bulls will have a short turnaround before their next game as they will travel to New York City for a matchup with the Columbia Lions on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm.