Bulls Look To Show CMU No Love In Valentines Day Date

Bulls Look To Show CMU No Love In Valentines Day Date

FULL GAME NOTES (.PDF)

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (19-4, 10-2 MAC) looks to stay unbeaten on their home court on Wednesday night as they welcome the Central Michigan Chippewas (20-3, 12-0 MAC) for the biggest MAC game of the season. The Bulls will be looking to avenge their 86-79 loss earlier this season in Mount Pleasant to the Chippewas. Wednesday nights showdown will air live on ESPN3 with Paul Peck and Amy Audibert on the call. Fans can also tune their radios to ESPN1520 AM starting at 6:30 pm as Matt Mattia will get you ready for action with the UB Women's Basketball pre-game show.

STORYLINES

  • The Bulls are looking to add to their program-best start on Wednesday night as they welcome MAC west leading Central Michigan to Alumni Arena for the biggest game of the conference season. The Chippewas enter with an unblemished 12-0 MAC mark while UB has posted a 10-2 MAC record.
  • Buffalo has won eight of their last nine games while averaging 79.3 points/game and holding their opponents to just 38.2% shooting.
  • This marks the 24th meeting of all-time between the two programs with the Chippewas holding the slim 12-11 edge over the Bulls. Buffalo has won two straight meetings against CMU inside Alumni Arena including a 67-56 victory last season.
  • Central Michigan was able to defeat UB earlier this season in Mount Pleasant by the score of 86-79. All five CMU starters scored in double figures led by Tinara Moore who finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win.
  • Buffalo received three votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll on Tuesday afternoon, marking the first time under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack that UB has received votes in the top 25 poll in four consecutive weeks and also the latest in a season they have received votes.
  • UB has now notched at least 10 MAC victories in four of the last five seasons under Coach Jack. Prior to Coach Jack taking over, the Bulls only produced one season with 10 MAC wins, 2000-01.
  • The Buffalo defense has held back-to-back opponents to under 50 points scored for the first time this season. The Bulls are now 6-0 this season when holding opponents to under 50 points and 13-0 when holding their opponent to under 70 points.

UB WELCOMES CMU FOR VALENTINES DAY SHOWDOWN
After notching a road win on Saturday afternoon, the Bulls will return to Alumni Arena on Valentines Day for their biggest game of the season as they welcome the Central Michigan Chippewas. CMU enters with an unblemished 12-0 MAC mark as they downed UB earlier this season in Mount Pleasant by the score of 86-79. Buffalo enters with a 19-4 overall record and a 10-2 MAC mark as they are winners of three straight while the Chippewas are 20-3 overall and have won 12 straight. Wednesday nights showdown will air live on ESPN3 at 7:00 pm. You can also listen in on the radio on ESPN1520 with Matt Mattia on the call starting at 6:30 pm with the UB women's basketball pregame show.

BULLS EARN DECISIVE ROAD VICTORY OVER MIAMI (OH)
Last time out, the Buffalo defense put together their second straight great performance as they were able to hold the RedHawks to just 28.6% shooting as they earned the 64-49 road victory. The Bulls have now held two straight opponents to under 50 points scored for the first time this season as they are 6-0 in such contests. The Bulls were led offensively by Stephanie Reid who netted a team-best 16 points, six assists and three rebounds while Cassie Oursler netted her second straight double-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. The win for UB was their 12th this season by at least 11 points.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Bulls will return to Alumni Arena on Wednesday night looking to improve to 9-0 overall and 6-0 against MAC foes on their home court. The Bulls are averaging 80.4 points/game while shooting 42.7% from the floor so far this season at home while limiting opponents to just 60.0 points/game and 34.5% shooting. The 8-0 start to their home slate matches the mark set last season and is the second best start to a home season since going 10-0 to open up the 1998-99 season. UB is outscoring their opponents by an average of 20.4 points/game at home this season. Alumni Arena has been nice to the Bulls over the past five seasons as UB owns a 47-17 record in front of their home fans. UB is 10-4 against MAC opponents on their home court over the last two seasons. The Bulls wrapped up their 2016-17 home campaign with a 13-4 record at home, a program record for wins since joining the MAC in 1998-99. Over the past four seasons, UB is averaging 73.1 points/game while limiting their opponents to just 55.4 points/game at Alumni Arena.

FIVE STRAIGHT 17+ WIN SEASONS
The Bulls have now posted five straight 17+ win seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. Prior to Legette-Jack taking over the UB program, Buffalo saw just seven seasons with 17+ victories with their last one coming in 2002-03 season when they won 18 games. The Bulls and Ball State are the only MAC teams who currently have recorded five straight seasons with 17+ wins. The Bulls are currently the only MAC team to win 19+ games in four straight seasons, including this season. Ohio has done so in three straight but currently own a 13-10 overall record. The Bulls are on pace for their third straight 20+ win season which has happened only once in the Bulls division I history as they did so from 1994-97.

#MACTION
The Bulls currently own a 10-2 MAC record through the first 12 games of the conference season as they have now recorded four seasons with at least 10 conference victories under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. Prior to Coach Jack taking over the program, UB saw just one season, 2000-01, with 10+ MAC victories. UB is 5-0 against MAC opponents at home this season and are outscoring MAC foes by an average of 11.3 points/game overall. Buffalo is averaging 79.8 points/game in conference games this season.

LOPSIDED VICTORIES
The Bulls have posted 12 victories this season by double digits including a 15-point victory last time out on the road against Miami. The Bulls earned their most lopsided victory since December 13, 2009 just over a week ago as they defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes by 38, 80-42. The Bulls also have won seven wins this season by at least 20 points as they are outscoring opponents by an average of 11.1 points/game this season. Buffalo has also scored at least 80 points in nine of their 19 wins this season, more than the last three years combined. In the Bulls 10 MAC victories, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 14.5 points/game.

REWRITING THE HISTORY BOOK
The Bulls have put together a historic start to their 2017-18 campaign as they currently own a 19-4 overall record and a 10-2 MAC mark. The 19-4 start to the season is the best start in the programs division I history. The Bulls 10-2 MAC start marks their best start to MAC play since joining the conference in 1998-99. Buffalo has claimed conference victories over Western Michigan, Akron, Miami (OH) twice, Ball State, Ohio, Toledo twice, Eastern Michigan and Kent State by an average of 14.5 points/game while outscoring all opponents this season by an average of 11.1 points/game. The Bulls program record for wins in a season since joining division I is 23 which they did during the 1995-96 campaign when UB was in the Mid-Continent Conference (Summit League). UB now sits just one win shy of 20 on the season as they look for their third straight 20+ win campaign. If they are able to do so, it will mark just the second time in program history as they won 20+ games from 1994-97, their first three seasons as a Division I program.

BUFFALO RECEIVING TOP 25 VOTES FOR 4TH STRAIGHT WEEK
After earning another MAC road victory over Miami on Saturday, the UB women's basketball team garnered some national attention for the fourth straight week as they earned two votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll, marking the first time under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack that the Bulls earned votes in the poll in four straight weeks. This also marks the latest in the season UB has received votes in the Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Bulls also currently rank #20 in the lastest RPI poll, highest of any MAC team and the highest ranking ever received by a Buffalo team this late in the season. UB has posted 11 wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-120 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Ball State (#42), St. John's (#53), Toledo (twice) (#64), Nebraska (#66),  Ohio (#77), UNLV (#90), Miami (OH) twice (#91), Western Michigan (#109) and Delaware (#118). Earlier this season, UB came in as high as #14 in the RPI rankings. The MAC is ranked as the seventh best conference in the NCAA in regards to RPI.

BULLS RANK 5TH IN NCAA IN STEALS
The Bulls pride themselves on defense and they have turned into one of the best teams in the nation in creating steals. Buffalo currently averages 12.9 steals/game which leads the MAC and ranks 5th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo was held to a season-low five steals in the victory at Miami as Cierra Dillard snagged three and Katherine Ups produced two steals. The Bulls currently have six players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 3.0 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 17th in the NCAA. Senior Stephanie Reid currently ranks 2nd in the MAC in steals/game in conference games as she is averaging 2.9 thefts and currently ranks 10th in UB history with 196 career steals.

RUN EM' OFF THE LINE
A focus of this Buffalo team has been defending the three-point shot and the Bulls have taken that to heart through 23 games this season. The Bulls rank 1st in the MAC and 16th in the NCAA in three-point field goal defense as they are allowing their opponents to shoot just 27.2% from behind the arc. UB is allowing just 5.3 made three-pointers made/game. The Bulls have held 11 opponents to less that five three pointers made in a game this season including each of their last three. UB has held its last two opponents to 3-for-38 from behind the arc (7.9%). Earlier this season, Buffalo held Clemson to no three pointers, marking the first time that has happened since November 14, 2015 when they held LIU Brooklyn to 0-for-14 from deep.

PAINTING A NEW PICTURE
The Bulls are beginning to dominate the paint as of late and that is making head coach Felisha Legette-Jack very happy as UB has won or tied the scoring in the paint category in 19 of their last 20 games overall. Last time out, the Bulls won the battle inside as they outscored Miami 36-22 down low, led by center Cassie Oursler who netted 14 points, most of which in the paint. In the Bulls road win at Toledo earlier this year, UB was able to set a new program record as they scored 66 points in the paint, scoring 33 of their 36 field goals inside the painted area. The Bulls are now 16-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 36.7 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 24.8 points/game down low.

LETS GET OFFENSIVE
The Buffalo offense underwent a change this offseason to become a quicker, more effective unit and that has produced some strong offensive efforts during the Bulls 19-4 start. The Bulls have now produced 10 games, four in their last six, of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The 10 games with 80+ points are the most in a season overall by the Bulls since doing it 14 times during the 1996-97 season when UB was in the Mid-Continent Conference (Now called the Summit League). Earlier this season against EMU, the UB offense netted 97 points which are the most in a game since January 13, 1996 when UB posted 99 points in a win over Chicago State. The UB offense ranks 2nd in MAC contests in scoring as they are averaging 79.8 points/game.

HELPING HANDS
Despite missing star point guard Stephanie Reid for four games earlier this season, the Bulls have been able to dish out their fair share of assists during their record 19-4 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 13th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.2) as three Bulls are averaging at least 2.0 assists/game so far this season. Reid leads UB averaging 7.2 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 8th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 4.9/game which ranks 6th in the MAC. UB and Oregon are the only two teams in the nation to have a player averaging at least 7.0 apg and another averaging at least 4.9 apg this season. Last time out, Buffalo dished out 14 assists on 25 made field goals in the win over Miami. In a win over UNLV earlier this season, the Bulls were able to set a Division I program record with 28 assists on 29 made field goals. So far this season, the Bulls have notched nine games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in 19 of 23 games overall, proving that team work and sharing the ball equate to victories on the court.

COUGHING IT UP
The pesky Buffalo defense has been able to force an average of 22.0 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle four times through 23 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 16th in the NCAA forcing 22.0 turnovers/game while also forcing 23.9 turnovers/game at home this season. UB forced 10 Miami turnovers last time out as they are one of two teams in the NCAA to force 20+ turnovers in at least 18 games this season (Auburn). The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in 12 of their last 15 games. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 505 total turnovers into 493 points (21.4/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 26-6 record when committing less turnovers than their opponents.

CLEANING THE GLASS
One of the keys to the Bulls success this season has been their ability to rebound the basketball. The Bulls currently rank 1st in the MAC in rebounding (42.9/game) while holding their oppoents to 40.4 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 13-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle and just 4-3 when they are outrebounded by their opponents. UB has also proved to be very dangerous on the offensive glass as they rank 2nd in the MAC in offensive rebounds/game overall (14.8) and 1st in conference games as they are averaging 15.5 offensive rebounds/game against MAC opponents.

REID MOVING UP MAC ALL-TIME ASSISTS LIST
Senior point guard Stephanie Reid continues to rack up assists at a high clip as she currently ranks second in the conference and eighth in the NCAA averaging 7.2 helpers/game. The Senior recently became the Bulls all-time leader in assists and is the first UB player and 13th player in MAC history to go over the 600 assist plateau. With at least seven more games left in her UB career, Reid is sure to climb the all-time MAC charts for assists in a career.

ALL-TIME MAC ASSISTS LEADERS
1.     Marti Heckman (Ohio) - 810
2. Michelle Burden (KSU) - 798
3. Naama Shafir (UT) - 722
4. Tracy Wells (WMU) - 699
5. Kacie Cassell (Akron) - 688
6. Kate Achter (BG) - 688
7. Dana Drew (UT) - 659
8. Kelly Savage (UT) - 640
9. Heather Smith (UT) - 634
10. Shala Crook (BSU) - 628
11. Maria Jilian (WMU) - 625
12. Carmen Grande (BSU) - 624
13. Stephanie Reid (UB) - 606

Italic = Current Player

SENIOR CLASS
This Buffalo squad is jammed full of experience and it starts with their senior class of five players, Stephanie Reid, Liisa Ups, Katherine Ups, Mariah Suchan and Cassie Oursler. These five seniors have combined to appear in 473 career games while combining to start 303 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 80 victories together and they are now the winningest senior class since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1998-99. No other senior class in the Bulls division I history have put together three 20+ win seasons, which this group is looking to accomplish this year with one more victories. Combined, these five seniors have played in 9,360 career minutes in the blue and white.

RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
Buffalo turned into one of the best teams in the country out in transition a season ago and with the athleticism on the roster this year, UB is near the top of the nation in fast break scoring once again. Through 23 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 265-86 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, Buffalo was able to win this category 4-2 against Miami. The Bulls have now held six opponents without a fast break bucket and 12 opponents to two points or less in the fast break on the season. Buffalo has won the fast break scoring category in 19 of 23 games overall this season. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 48 of their 54 games including in 38 of their 41 victories. UB owned the 270-111 edge in fast break scoring a season ago.

SHOOTING FOR THE STARS   
One of the keys to success for the Bulls over the past couple of seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has been shooting a better percentage from the floor than their opponents. Buffalo was able to shoot a higher percentage on Saturday and it resulted in another win. UB shot 42.4% from the floor while Miami shot just 28.6%. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 48-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 15-0 this season when doing so.

70 AND UNDER
The Bulls have been known for their defense since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the program six seasons ago which has helped UB produce back-to-back 20+ win seasons. Legette-Jack's goal for the team is to keep their opponent under 60 points as UB is 25-0 when doing so across the past two seasons. Buffalo was able to hit this goal last time out as they downed Miami 64-49, the sixth opponent they have held under 50 points this season. After leading the MAC a season ago in points allowed/game, the Buffalo defense has once again locked down opposing offenses as they rank 1st in the MAC in field goal percentage defense (36.7%) and 1st in scoring defense (65.0 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has forced an average of 22.0 turnovers/game. Over the last three seasons, UB is 58-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 25-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 13-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

REID 'EM AND WEEP
Senior point guard Stephanie Reid has turned into one of the best floor generals in country over her impressive four-year UB career and is the midst of her best basketball right now. The senior has been great since returning from injury as she is averaging 31.9 minutes, 11.3 points, 7.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals on the season while appearing in 19 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 8th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.2) and 19th in assist/turnover margin (2.7). Buffalo owns a 16-3 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid netted a team-best 16 points, six assists and three rebounds in the Bulls win over Miami. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 606 helpers, ranking 6th amongst active players for career assists as she became the 13th player in MAC history to record her 600th assist. She has recorded 13 double digit assist efforts in her career and five this season while becoming the first player in UB history to notch over 1,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds in her career.

OURSLER KEY TO BULLS SUCCESS
Fifth-year senior center Cassie Oursler is being leaned on heavily this season and she is proving that she is more than capable of shouldering the load down low for the Bulls. The Grand Island, NY native is having her best offensive season to date for the Bulls as she has scored in double figures in 18 of 23 games this season. Last time out, Oursler continued her strong play as she notched her second straight double-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. She has now recorded back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in her UB career. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks while shooting 47.5% from the floor and 78.9% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 8th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 47.7% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 127 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 15 straight games. She has also posted a career-best six double-doubles and a career-best two 20+ scoring efforts so far this season.

DILLY DILLY
Junior guard Cierra Dillard has turned into a fan favorite as her flashy passes and her pure talent have been on display all season long. The Rochester native is averaging 31.1 minutes, a team-high 15.1 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals while making a team-best 51 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Miami, Dillard was able to contribute nine points, six assists, six rebounds and three steals in 35 minutes in the win over Miami. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 4.9 dimes/game while also ranking 17th in the NCAA in steals/game (3.0). She uses her superior basketball IQ to get into the opposing teams passing lanes and uses her quick hands to force tons of turnovers for the Bulls. On the year, Dillard has recorded at least one steal in 22 of 23 games this season while notching three games with 6+ steals. Her defense has helped the Bulls get out in transition and score, leading to their 19-4 start to the season. Dillard has led UB in scoring a team-best 13 times while also going over the 20-point plateau a team-high seven times this season. When Dillard scores 20+ points, UB is 7-0 this season. She has been named MAC East Player of the Week three times this year, most of any player. Dillard has also been named UB Athlete of the Week six times this season.

HEMPHILL GAINING CONFIDENCE
The Bulls have been waiting for sophomore Summer Hemphill to break out and prove she is a dominant post presence and she might be in the midst of that right now. The Buffalo native is becoming a reliable source of scoring and rebounding for the Bulls of late as she has a pair of double-doubles in her last four games. Hemphill was effective once again on Saturday afternoon as she was able to post 10 points and nine rebounds while going 4-for-7 from the flooor. The athletically gifted post player is averaging a career-high 25.1 minutes, 10.3 points, a team-best 7.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting a team-best 60.7% from the floor on the year. Hemphill ranks 2nd in the MAC and 14th in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year. In MAC games, Hemphill has been a beast as she is averaging 12.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.9 blocks while shooting 61.5% from the floor as UB is off to a 10-2 MAC start for the first time in program history.

COACH JACK NOTCHES 250TH CAREER VICTORY
With the dominant 64-49 victory over Miami on Saturday, UB head coach Felisha Legette-Jack recorded her 250th career coaching victory. Coach Jack has notched 109 career victories as the head coach at Buffalo. She became the second fastest head coach to 100 wins at Buffalo as it took her 172 games while it took Sal Buscaglia notched his 100th victory at Buffalo in 171 games. In her sixth season at the helm of the Bulls, Felisha Legette-Jack has turned into one of the best head coaches in the MAC as she has guided UB to back-to-back 20+ win seasons and Buffalo has won 19+ games in four straight seasons.

OURSLER BECOMES BULLS 3RD 1000-POINT SCORER
Senior center Cassie Oursler became the Bulls third 1,000 point scorer this season last Saturday against Toledo as she netted 15 points to give her exactly 1,000 career points. The Grand Island native has posted 788 career points for the blue and white after spending her freshman campaign at Robert Morris. Oursler joins Stephanie Reid and Cierra Dillard as the only trio in UB history to record their 1,000th career point in the same season, all coming within three weeks of one another. Reid recorded her 1,000th career point with a free throw that sealed the win over EMU in overtime earlier this season while Cierra Dillard notched her 1,000th career point in a road win over Ball State. UB currently has 24 members of their 1,000 career point club after Reid joined the club earlier this season. The last duo of teammates to record 1,000 career points in the same season were assistant coach Kristen Sharkey and Mackenzie Loesing in 2014-15.

UB GREAT JOANNA SMITH SIGNS PRO DEAL IN TURKEY
Former University at Buffalo women's basketball great JoAnna Smith has inked her second professional contract with the Canik Belediyespor Samsun club in Turkey. Smith is the second UB player to sign a professional contract since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the program in 2012, joining former teammate Christa Baccas. Smith will be one of four American born players on the roster joining Tan White (Mississippi State '05), Avery Warley (Liberty '12) and Eshaya Murphy (USC '07). Murphy was also a second round pick of the Minnesota Lynx in the 2007 WNBA Draft. Smith wrapped up her Buffalo career with 1,395 career points, ranking sixth in program history. The sharpshooter closed out her UB career ranked third in program history in three pointers made (208) and seventh in field goals made (494). Smith played in 121 career games for UB, third most in program history. She began her professional career in Portugal earlier this season and led her team to an undefeated record before choosing to sign and play in the top professional league in Turkey, KBSL.