Women's Hoops Plays Host To MAC East Foe Ohio On Saturday Afternoon

Women's Hoops Plays Host To MAC East Foe Ohio On Saturday Afternoon

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BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team (22-4, 13-2 MAC) will look for their seventh straight win on Saturday afternoon as they welcome MAC East foe Ohio to Alumni Arena for the first game of a doubleheader with the UB men's team. The Bulls and Bobcats will square off at 1:00 pm followed by the UB men vs. Ohio at 3:30 pm.

Saturday's game will air live on ESPN3 with Paul Peck and Amy Audibert on the call. The game can also be listened to on ESPN1520 AM or on the tunein app as Matt Mattia will get you started for action at 12:30 pm with the UB Women's Basketball pregame show.

STORYLINES

  • After clinching their first ever MAC East Division regular season championship, the Bulls will be looking for their seventh straight win on Saturday afternoon as they welcome Ohio to Alumni Arena.
  • This marks the 39th meeting of all-time between the two programs with the Bulls owning the 21-17 edge in the series dating back to 1998-99. UB has won five of the last six against the Bobcats and are 7-1 over their last eight meetings in Buffalo.
  • 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 #15 in the latest RPI poll, marking the highest ranking the Bulls have ever received this late in the season. UB is the highest ranked mid-major program in the country.
  • Over the Bulls current six-game winning streak, senior center Cassie Oursler is averaging 17.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 59.7% from the floor and a perfect 1.000 from the free throw line.
  • The 13 MAC wins so far this season for the Bulls are the most in program history. 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).

OHIO COMES TO TOWN ON SATURDAY FOR MAC SHOWDOWN
After winning their sixth straight game on Wednesday night at Bowling Green, the Bulls will return home on Saturday afternoon for the front half of a doubleheader with the UB men's team as they welcome the Ohio Bobcats at 1:00 pm. Buffalo enters with a 22-4 overall record and a 13-2 MAC mark while the Bobcats enter with a 15-11 overall record and a 9-6 MAC mark. Saturday's game will air live on ESPN3 at 1:00 pm and 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.

BULLS SECURE FIRST MAC EAST DIVISION TITLE WITH WIN AT BG
The Bulls were able to take care of business on the road on Wednesday night as they took down the Bowling Green Falcons at the Stroh Center by the score of 88-67. With the win, the Bulls were able to secure their first ever MAC East Division regular season championship. The Buffalo offense was clicking on all cylinders on Wednesday night as they were able to shoot a season-high 51.6% from the floor while going over the 80-point plateau for the 13th time this season. The Bulls saw four players score in double figures and 13 of 14 players scored at least one point in the 21-point victory. Cassie Oursler led the way for UB with her eighth double-double of the season as she went for 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks across 24 minutes of work. Summer Hemphill finished off her day with 12 points and four rebounds while Cierra Dillard chipped in with 10 points and a team-high seven assists in the win. As a team, UB outrebounded the Falcons 49-32 while also holding the 44-20 edge in scoring inside the paint.

SEEDING POSSIBILITIES
After the win at Bowling Green on Wednesday night, the Bulls locked up their first ever MAC East division regular season championship and a top-3 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament. The top-3 seed for the Bulls will be their highest seed ever in the MAC Tournament as they have earned the #4 seed three times. With a win on Saturday against Ohio, the Bulls would lock up a top-2 seed but would need some help to earn the #1 seed away from Central Michigan. If the Chippewas were to lose to Ball State on Wednesday night and the Bulls were to win out, UB would earn the top seed due to owning the tie breaker over Central Michigan.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Bulls will return to Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon looking to improve on their 10-0 home mark as they welcome the Ohio Bobcats. The 10-0 start ties a program record for best start to a home schedule in program history as the Bulls also started 10-0 in the 1998-99 campaign. The Bulls are averaging 81.3 points/game while shooting 43.4% from the floor so far this season at home while limiting opponents to just 63.3 points/game and 36.5% shooting. UB is outscoring their opponents by an average of 18.0 points/game at home this season while also forcing an average of 21.4 turnovers/game on their home court. Alumni Arena has been nice to the Bulls over the past five seasons as UB owns a 49-17 record in front of their home fans. UB is 12-4 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 74.2 points/game while limiting their opponents to just 56.1 points/game at Alumni Arena. The Bulls have never closed out a regular season with an unblemished home record, something they will be looking to do with just two home games remaining.

THREE STRAIGHT 20+ WIN SEASONS
The wins continue to pile up for the Bulls of late as Buffalo has secured their third straight season with 20+ wins for just the second time in program history as they also did so from 1994-97, their first three seasons in division I. Buffalo has also now posted five straight 17+ win seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, marking the first time this has happened in program history. 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 15-11 overall record.

MOST #MACTION WINS IN PROGRAM HISTORY
With their win over Bowling Green on Wednesday, the Bulls continue to add to their program record for MAC victories as they have now secured 13 conference wins for the first time in program history. Prior to this season, the most MAC wins the Bulls ever produced in a season was 11 which they recorded in 2014-15. UB has now notched four seasons with at least 10 MAC victories under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. Prior to Coach Jack taking over the Bulls, Buffalo saw just one season with 10 MAC victories, 2000-01. UB is a perfect 7-0 against MAC East foes this season while beating them by an average of 17.2 points/game. Overall in MAC games this season, Buffalo ranks 2nd in points/game (81.1 PPG).

REWRITING THE HISTORY BOOK
The Bulls have put together a historic start to their 2017-18 campaign as they currently own a 22-4 overall record and a 13-2 MAC mark. The 22-4 start to the season is the best start in the programs division I history. The Bulls 13-2 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 twice, Miami (OH) twice, Ball State, Ohio, Toledo twice, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Central Michigan and Bowling Green by an average of 14.2 points/game while outscoring all opponents this season by an average of 11.3 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).

THE CLIMB IS REAL
After collecting a pair of wins last week, the UB women's basketball team checks in at #15 in the latest RPI poll released by the NCAA on Tuesday. This marks the highest ranking ever by UB this late in the season and is also the highest ranking of any mid-major program. UB also garnered some national attention as they received a program-record seven votes in the latest USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, marking a program record fifth straight week UB has earned a vote. UB has posted 11 wins over teams currently ranked inside the top-115 in the latest RPI rankings as they downed Central Michigan (#26), Ball State (#40), St. John's (#54), Nebraska (#62), Toledo (twice) (#63), UNLV (#83), Miami (OH) (twice) (#85), Ohio (#86),  and Western Michigan (#110). The Bulls average margin of victory over the 10 teams they defeated in the top-100 of the RPI poll is 10.1 points/game.

KATHERINE UPS NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-REGION
Senior guard Katherine Ups received some academic recognition for the first time in her UB career on Thursday afternoon as she was named to the CoSIDA First Team Academic All-Region squad. Ups, a biomedical sciences major with a 3.92 GPA, becomes the first UB player since 2000-01 to earn First Team All-Region honors. She is one of just five MAC student-athletes to be honored with the recognition. On the court, Ups is having her best offensive season as she is averaging 7.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists while starting all 26 games for the Bulls as they own a 22-4 overall record on the season.

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 26 games this season. The Bulls rank 1st in the MAC and 13th in the NCAA in three-point field goal defense as they are allowing their opponents to shoot just 27.4% from behind the arc. UB is allowing just 5.5 made three-pointers made/game on 19.9 attempts/game. The Bulls have held 11 opponents to less that five three pointers made in a game this season including three of their last six. UB has held its last four opponents to 21-for-98 from behind the arc (21.4%). UB also leads the conference in three point defense across 15 conference games as they are holding their opponents to just 27.0% shooting from deep. 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.

BULLS RANK 10TH 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 12.0 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 10th in the NCAA. Last time out, Buffalo produced four steals as Ayoleka Sodade led the way with two. The Bulls currently have six players that average over a steal/game while junior Cierra Dillard leads the Bulls averaging 2.8 steals/game which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 22nd 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 202 career steals.

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 22 of their last 23 games overall. Last time out, the Bulls earned the 44-20 edge in scoring inside as Cassie Oursler scored most of her 20 points inside 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 19-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 37.9 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 25.3 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 22-4 start. The Bulls have now produced 13 games, seven of their last nine, of 80+ points this season, marking the most 80+ point games in a season since joining the MAC in 1998-99. The 13 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 81.1 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 22-4 start to the season. UB currently ranks 2nd in the MAC and ranks 11th in the NCAA in assists/game (18.5) as three Bulls are averaging at least 2.0 assists/game so far this season. Reid leads UB averaging 7.3 helpers which ranks 2nd in the MAC and 7th in the NCAA while Dillard ranks second on the team averaging 5.2 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 18 assists on 32 made field goals in the win over Bowling Green. So far this season, the Bulls have notched 10 games with at least 20 assists and have recorded at least 15 helpers in 22 of 26 games overall, proving that team work and sharing the ball equate to victories on the court. 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.

COUGHING IT UP

The pesky Buffalo defense has been able to force an average of 20.7 turnovers/game so far this season as they have only lost the turnover battle six times through 26 games. UB currently ranks 3rd in the MAC and 24th in the NCAA forcing 20.7 turnovers/game while also forcing 21.8 turnovers/game at home this season. The Bulls have forced 20+ turnovers in 12 of their last 18 games. Last time out, the Bulls forced 11 Bowling Green turnovers in the win. UB takes advantage of their opportunities once forcing the turnovers as they have turned 539 total turnovers into 526 points (20.2/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 (43.5/game) while holding their oppoents to 39.7 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 16-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle and just 4-3 when they are outrebounded by their opponents. In conference games, UB leads the MAC as they are grabbing an average 45.3 rebounds/game. Buffalo and Central Michigan are the only two teams in the conference with a pair of players ranking inside the top-11 in rebounding in MAC games as Cassie Oursler is averaging 9.1/game and Summer Hemphill is grabbing 7.9/game.

CREATING SECOND CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES
Buffalo has improved all season long on the offensive glass and they are proving to be one of the best in the country of late. The Bulls are currently tied for 1st in the MAC in offensive rebounds/game as they are averaging 15.3/game on the season. Last time out, UB grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in the win at Bowling Green. In MAC games, UB has turned up the attack on the offensive glass as they are leading the conference, averaging 15.9/game, two offensive rebounds more than 2nd place Eastern Michigan. Buffalo has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 24 of their 26 games this season and have snagged at least 20 on five occassions. Bulls take advantage of their offensive rebounds as they are averaging 14.1 second chance points per game on the year.

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 2nd in the conference and 7th in the NCAA averaging 7.3 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 630 career helpers and sits in 11th place on the MAC's all-time charts.

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. Carmen Grande (BSU) - 649
9. Kelly Savage (UT) - 640
10. Heather Smith (UT) - 634
11. Stephanie Reid (UB) - 630
12. Shala Crook (BSU) - 628
13. Maria Jilian (WMU) - 625

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 486 career games while combining to start 312 contests together. This impressive senior class has accumulated 83 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. These seniors have had great success inside Alumni Arena over their great careers as they own a 40-13 (.755) record in front of the home fans. Combined, these five seniors have played in 9,649 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 26 games this season, the Bulls seem poised to dominate this category all season long as they own a 282-101 edge in fast break scoring. Last time out, Buffalo was able to hold the slim 7-5 edge over Bowling Green in the 21-point victory. 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 22 of 26 games overall this season and are 20-2 when winning this category. UB has scored in double figures in the fast break category 13 times. Over the past two seasons, UB has won or tied the fast break category in 51 of their 57 games including in 41 of their 44 victories.

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 have their best day shooting the ball in the win over Bowling Green as they outshot the Falcons 51.6% to 33.3% from the floor. When the Bulls shoot a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent, they own a 50-2 record over the past three seasons and are a perfect 17-0 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 has held a total of 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 2nd in the MAC in field goal percentage defense (37.1%) and 3rd in scoring defense (65.9 PPG). The stingy Buffalo defense has forced an average of 20.7 turnovers/game. Over the last three seasons, UB is 59-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 25-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Bulls are a perfect 14-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points scored.

LOPSIDED VICTORIES
The Bulls have posted 14 victories this season by double digits including a 21-point victory last time out against Bowling Green. The Bulls earned their most lopsided victory since December 13, 2009 earlier this season as they defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes by 38, 80-42. The Bulls also have won eight games this season by at least 20 points as they are outscoring opponents by an average of 11.3 points/game overall this season. Buffalo has also scored at least 80 points in 11 of their 22 wins this season, more than the last three years combined. In the Bulls 13 MAC victories, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of 14.1 points/game.

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 31.7 minutes, 11.5 points, 7.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals on the season while appearing in 22 games. Now that Reid qualifies to be in NCAA stats, she ranks 7th in the NCAA in assists/game (7.3) and 22nd in assist/turnover margin (2.7). Buffalo owns a 19-3 record this season with their floor general in the starting lineup. Last time out, Reid finished the win over BG with eight points and six assists in just 25 minutes of work. The senior keeps adding to her program record for career assists as she currently sits at 630 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 a program record 14 double digit assist efforts in her career and six 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 KEY TO BUFFALO 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 21 of 26 games this season. Last time out, Oursler was a monster in the win over Bowling Green as she notched her eight double-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. She has now recorded four double-doubles in her last five games for the Bulls, the best stretch of her UB career. Over her last six games, she is averaging a team-best 17.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 59.7% from the floor and 100% from the free throw line. On the year, she is averaging a career-best 14.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and a team-best 2.0 blocks while shooting 49.5% from the floor and 81.0% from the charity stripe. The senior currently sits in 7th place on the Bulls all-time field goal percentage charts as she is shooting 48.3% from the floor over her career. Oursler also moved into 5th place on the Bulls all-time blocks list as she has notched 134 career rejections as a Bull as she has notched at least one block in 18 straight games. She has also posted a career-best eight double-doubles and a career-best four 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 31.0 minutes, a team-high 14.8 points, 5.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 steals while making a team-best 57 three-pointers on the year. Last time out against Bowling Green, Dillard was able to produce 10 points, seven assists and two rebounds in just 24 minutes. Dillard's game doesn't stop at her scoring as she is one of the best facilitators in the conference, averaging 5.2 dimes/game while also ranking 22nd in the NCAA in steals/game (2.8). 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 24 of 26 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 22-4 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'S CONFIDENCE AT ALL-TIME HIGH
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 eight straight games. Hemphill was able to net 12 points and four rebounds in just 22 minutes of action on Wednesday in the win over BG. The athletically gifted post player is averaging a career-high 25.7 minutes, 10.8 points, a team-best 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting a team-best 60.6% from the floor on the year. Hemphill ranks 2nd in the MAC and 15th in the NCAA in field goal percentage on the year. In MAC games, Hemphill has been a beast as she is averaging 13.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.7 blocks while shooting 61.2% from the floor as UB is off to a program-best 13-2 start in conference games.

MORRISON STRONG PLAY LEADS UB BENCH
Junior forward Brittany Morrison has been a great bench player for the Bulls since joining the team three seasons ago and she continued her blue collar play in the win over Bowling Green on Wednesday. The Ohio native came off the bench and produced six points, eight rebounds and two blocks across 11 minutes of work for the Bulls as they collected their first ever MAC East division championship. Eight of the nine Buffalo bench players scored at least one point in the win as Autumn Jones finished with six, Theresa Onwuka netted four, Liisa Ups netted three, Marissa Hamilton had three, Courtney Wilkins had two, Hanna Hall had two and Mariah Suchan finished with one point. On the year, Morrison is averaging 10.7 minutes, 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds while providing UB with some strength and toughness down low.