Bulls Welcome Akron Zips On Saturday For Annual Pink Game

Bulls Welcome Akron Zips On Saturday For Annual Pink Game

FULL GAME NOTES (.PDF)
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (20-4, 11-2 MAC) will look to clinch a bye to Cleveland for the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Saturday as they welcome the Akron Zips to Alumni Arena. With a win on Saturday, UB will secure a top-4 seed for the MAC Tournament and at least a share of the MAC East division regular season championship for the first time in program history. The game will air live on ESPN3 at 1:00 pm or it can be listened to on the radio on ESPN1520 AM as Matt Mattia will get you ready for action starting at 12:30 pm with the UB Women's Basketball Pre-game Show.

Saturday's game will also be the Bulls' annual Pink Game as the team will be wearing pink warm ups and are encouraging fans to wear pink as well to raise awareness for breast cancer research.

STORYLINES

  • The Bulls will be looking for their 10th win in their last 11 games on Saturday afternoon at 1pm as they welcome the Akron Zips to Alumni Arena for a MAC east division battle.
  • This marks the 48th meeting of all-time between the two programs with the Bulls owning the 25-22 edge over the Zips. Buffalo has won four straight in the series including the game earlier this season in Akron by the score of 89-66.
  • Buffalo has now recorded three straight seasons with at least 20 victories for just the second time in the programs Division I history as UB did so from 1994-97, UB's first three seasons as a Division I program.
  • Buffalo currently sits at #14 in the latest RPI poll, marking the highest ranking the Bulls have ever received this late in the season. UB is the highest ranked MAC school and second highest ranked mid-major program (Green Bay #13).
  • Buffalo and Oregon are the only two teams in the country to have one player averaging at least 7.0 assists (Stephanie Reid 7.2 APG) and another player averaging at least 4.0 assists (Cierra Dillard 5.0 APG).
  • 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.
  • Senior point guard Stephanie Reid is one of just four active players in the NCAA to accumulate at least 1,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds over their career (Jackie Kemph - St. Louis, Jordin Canada - UCLA and Emily Clemens - Western Illinois).

UB LOOKS FOR 5TH STRAIGHT WIN AS AKRON COMES TO TOWN
After collecting their biggest win of the season last time out, the Bulls will welcome the Akron Zips to Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm for a MAC East battle. The Bulls will be looking for their fifth straight win overall and 10th straight inside Alumni Arena as they enters with a 20-4 overall record and a 11-2 MAC mark. The Zips come into Saturday's game with a 8-16 overall record and a 2-11 MAC mark as they defeated Eastern Michigan on Sunday, 77-65. Saturday's game will air live on ESPN3 at 1:00 pm. You can also listen in on the radio on ESPN1520 with Matt Mattia on the call starting at 12:30 pm with the UB women's basketball pregame show.

BUFFALO ENDS CMU'S 12-GAME WINNING STREAK
In their biggest game in quite some time, the Bulls were able to put in a complete performance and handed the previously unbeaten in MAC play Central Michigan Chippewas the 85-82 defeat. The Bulls used a clean second half performance, turning the ball over just once over the final 20 minutes, to snap the Chippewas 12-game winning streak on Wednesday night in front of an energized Alumni Arena crowd. The Buffalo offense was powered by a pair of seniors as Cassie Oursler netted her third straight double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Stephanie Reid finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the win. As a team, Buffalo only turned the ball over five times while winning the battle in the paint, 46-36.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Bulls will return to Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon looking to improve to 10-0 overall and 7-0 against MAC foes on their home court. Buffalo currently owns a 9-0 record at Alumni Arena, the second best start to a home schedule since starting 10-0 during the 1998-99 campaign. The Bulls are averaging 80.9 points/game while shooting 43.1% from the floor so far this season at home while limiting opponents to just 62.4 points/game and 36.3% shooting. UB is outscoring their opponents by an average of 18.5 points/game at home this season while also forcing an average of 22.3 turnovers/game on their home court. Alumni Arena has been nice to the Bulls over the past five seasons as UB owns a 48-17 record in front of their home fans. UB is 11-4 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 73.8 points/game while limiting their opponents to just 55.9 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 11-2 MAC record through the first 13 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. Buffalo is in search of their 12th MAC victory of the season on Saturday which would mark a program record for MAC victories in a season. UB last won 11 games in 2014-15 but have never earn 12 conference wins. UB is 6-0 against MAC opponents at home this season and are outscoring MAC foes by an average of 15.2 points/game inside Alumni Arena. Buffalo is averaging 80.1 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 weekend on the road against Miami (OH). 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 10.8 points/game overall 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 11 MAC victories, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 13.5 points/game.

REWRITING THE HISTORY BOOK
The Bulls have put together a historic start to their 2017-18 campaign as they currently own a 20-4 overall record and a 11-2 MAC mark. The 20-4 start to the season is the best start in the programs division I history. The Bulls 11-2 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, Kent State and Central Michigan by an average of 13.5 points/game while outscoring all opponents this season by an average of 10.8 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 has now posted three straight 20-win seasons for just the second time in program history as they did so from 1994-97, their first three seasons as a Division I program.

THE CLIMB IS REAL
After collecting their biggest win of the season on Wednesday against Central Michigan, the UB women's basketball team checks in at #14 in the latest RPI poll released by the NCAA on Friday. This marks the highest ranking ever by UB this late in the season and is also the highest ranking of any MAC school and second highest of any mid-major program (Green Bay #13). UB also garnered some national attention as they received three votes in the latest USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, marking a program record fourth straight week UB has earned a vote. UB has posted 12 wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-120 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Central Michigan (#26), Ball State (#42), St. John's (#52), Nebraska (#60), Toledo (twice) (#62), Ohio (#82), Miami (OH) twice (#91), UNLV (#92), Western Michigan (#105) and Delaware (#117). The Bulls average margin of victory over the 10 teams they defeated in the top-100 of the RPI poll is 9.8 points/game.

BULLS RANK 7TH 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 12.5 steals/game which leads the MAC and ranks 7th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo was held to a season-low four steals in the victory over Central Michigan as Stephanie Reid grabbed two steals and Cierra Dillard and Autumn Jones each snagged one. The Bulls currently have six players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 2.9 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 21st 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 198 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 24 games this season. The Bulls rank 1st in the MAC and 14th 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 three of their last four. UB has held its last three opponents to 9-for-61 from behind the arc (14.8%). 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 20 of their last 21 games overall. Last time out, the Bulls won the battle inside as they outscored Central Michigan 46-36 down low, led by center Cassie Oursler who netted 24 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 17-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 36.9 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 25.8 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 11 games, five in their last seven, of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The 11 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 80.2 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 20-4 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 7th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 5.0 assists/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 4.0 apg this season. Last time out, Buffalo dished out 19 assists on 32 made field goals in the win over CMU. 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 20 of 24 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 21.5 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle four times through 24 games. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and 16th in the NCAA forcing 21.5 turnovers/game while also forcing 22.3 turnovers/game at home this season. The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in 12 of their last 16 games. Last time out, the Bulls only forced 10 CMU turnovers but UB still was able to collect the victory. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 515 total turnovers into 489 points (20.4/game). Over the past two seasons, the Bulls own a 27-6 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 (42.7/game) while holding their oppoents to 40.2 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 14-0 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). Buffalo is averaging 44.5 rebounds/game overall and 15.5 offensive rebounds/game through 13 MAC games, both marks are the best in the conference.

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 7th 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, as she currently has 614 career helpers. With at least six 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) - 614

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 477 career games while combining to start 306 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 81 victories together and they are now the winningest senior class since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1998-99. This senior class is the first in the Bulls division I history to record three straight 20-win seasons. Combined, these five seniors have played in 9,471 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 24 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 255-92 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, Buffalo was able to outscore CMU 13-8 in the open court. 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 20 of 24 games overall this season. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 49 of their 55 games including in 39 of their 42 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 wasn't able to shoot a higher percentage than CMU on Wednesday but they still downed the Chippewas 85-82. CMU shot 50.0% while UB shot 46.4% in the victory. 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 three straight 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 held two of their last three opponents under 50 points as they have now held six opponents 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 (37.2%) and 2nd in scoring defense (65.7 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has forced an average of 21.5 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 32.2 minutes, 11.7 points, 7.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.7 steals on the season while appearing in 20 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 7th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.2) and 17th in assist/turnover margin (2.8). Buffalo owns a 17-3 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid notched her third 20-point effort of the season as she went for 20 points, a career-high nine rebounds and eight assists in the huge win over CMU. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 614 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 and just one of four current players in the NCAA to notch over 1,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds in her career.

OURSLER POWERING BULLS TO VICTORY
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 19 of 24 games this season. Last time out, Oursler had a monster game on her birthday as she netted 24 points and 13 rebounds in the win over CMU. She has now recorded three straight double-doubles for the first time in her UB career. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 13.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 blocks while shooting 48.3% from the floor and 79.7% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 7th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 48.1% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 129 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 16 straight games. She has also posted a career-best seven double-doubles and a career-best three 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 31.3 minutes, a team-high 15.1 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 steals while making a team-best 52 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Central Michigan, Dillard notched 15 points, nine assists, five rebounds and a steal in the victory. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 5.0 dimes/game while also ranking 21st in the NCAA in steals/game (2.9). 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 23 of 24 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 20-4 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 scored in double figures in six straight games. Hemphill was effective once again on Wednesday as she notched 15 points and four rebounds while going 7-for-11 from the floor. The athletically gifted post player is averaging a career-high 25.6 minutes, 10.5 points, a team-best 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting a team-best 60.9% from the floor on the year. Hemphill ranks 2nd in the MAC and 27th in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year. In MAC games, Hemphill has been a beast as she is averaging 12.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks while shooting 61.7% from the floor as UB is off to a 11-2 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 110 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 three straight 20+ win seasons and Buffalo has won 19+ games in four straight seasons, the only team in the MAC to do so.

OURSLER BECOMES BULLS 3RD 1000-POINT SCORER
Senior center Cassie Oursler became the Bulls third 1,000 point scorer this season as she netted 15 points against Toledo to give her exactly 1,000 career points. The Grand Island native has posted 812 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.