MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team lost 76-65 at Central Michigan on Saturday. With the loss the Bulls fall to 14-5 on the season, 6-2 in league play.
It's the first loss for Buffalo since its MAC opener against Ohio on January 5. Cierra Dillard led the Bulls with 25 points, while adding four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Also in double figures for UB were Summer Hemphill, who went for 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block and Hanna Hall who also chipped in 12 points.
Central Michigan opened the game on a 9-2 run to take a 13-4 lead at the first media timeout. The Bulls shot just 1-of-9 from the floor early on. Buffalo would claw back as Hall drilled a three, the first UB field goal in over five minutes, to cut the lead to seven but the Chippewas would answer with a 9-0 run of their own and ended the quarter with a Reyna Frost turnaround jumper at the buzzer, one of her 13 first quarter points, to take a 25-14 lead after one. The Chippewas shot a blistering 61.1% from the field in the opening quarter.
The Buffalo offense would respond in the second, using a 10-6 run to cut the CMU lead to 30-23 with 4:49 to play in the first half. After recording no field goals in the first, Dillard would start to heat up following the media timeout, hitting back to back three's to cut the lead to two. In total, UB would close on an 18-9 run to cut the CMU lead to 39-37 lead at the break. Dillard finished the quarter with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
It was a back and forth third quarter to start as Micaela Kelly put CMU up six on a three pointer but Dillard answered with a triple with a triple of her own to cut the lead back to three. But the Chippewas would close the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 60-52 lead through three quarters of play.
Dillard picked up right where she left off drilling a three on the opening possession of the fourth to cut the CMU lead to five but the Chippewas would rattle off a 10-2 run to take a 70-57 lead at the final media timeout. The Bulls would cut it to ten on a free throw from Hemphill but that would be as close as they would get as CMU maintained a double digit lead for the victory.
The Bulls outshot the Chippewas from beyond the arc, connecting on nine three's on the afternoon and committed a season-low nine turnovers, but CMU outshot UB from the field and won the battle of the boards 47-35.
The Bulls return home to Alumni Arena for a two-game home stand beginning Wednesday, January 6, as they host Toledo at 7 p.m.