Bulls Welcome Central Michigan to Alumni Arena on Saturday

Alumni Arena

Buffalo (16-6, 8-3 MAC) vs. Central Michigan (17-6, 8-3 MAC)

February 16, 2019

Alumni Arena – 2 p.m.

Bulls on the Air

Radio – ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television: ESPN3

Presented by BryLin Behavioral Health

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team looks to get back in the win column as they welcome Central Michigan to Alumni Arena on Saturday. It is the Mental Health Awareness Game presented by BryLin Behavioral Health. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 with Paul Peck (pbp) and Amy Audibert (color) announcing, and broadcast on ESPN 1520 WWKB and TuneIn Radio with Matt Mattia announcing.


TODAY'S STORYLINES

• The contest will mark the 27th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the Chippewas holding the series advantage 14-12. CMU has won four of the last six meetings, most recently a 76-65 victory in Mount Pleasant on February 2, 2019.

• The game will feature a matchup between two of the league's best, as Cierra Dillard is the reigning MAC East Player of the Week, while CMU's Reyna Frost was named MAC West Player of the Week for the third straight week.

• The Bulls are 5-1 against MAC West opponents this season.

• Buffalo is coming off of a 78-72 loss at Bowling Green on Wednesday. Cierra Dillard had a game-high 26 points and six assists. Autumn Jones went for a season-high 17 points, three steals and two rebounds while Summer Hemphill recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

• The Bulls have not lost back-to-back conference games since the 2016-17 season when they started 0-3 in league play.

• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 19 of the last 22 games and is averaging 25.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.0 apg and 2.8 stls/gm. The senior is currently third in the nation in scoring.

• Dillard was named one of 10 candidates for the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, recognizing the top shooting guard in women's NCAA Division 1 college basketball.

• The senior was also named MAC East Player of the Week on February 12th. It is the fifth weekly honor for Dillard this season.

• Dillard was placed on the Wade Trophy watch list to begin the season, marking the first UB player in school history to earn a spot on the prestigious list.


GAME 22 RECAP: BOWLING GREEN

• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team's second half rally came up short as the Bulls fell to Bowling Green 78-72 at the Stroh Center on Wednesday night.

Cierra Dillard led the Bulls with 26 points, six assists and two steals.

• Also scoring in double figures were Autumn Jones who finished with a season-high 17 points and three steals and Summer Hemphill, who added her eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

• The 11 point halftime deficit was the largest faced by the Bulls at the break this season.

• The Falcons shot 56.8% from the floor, the best by a Bulls opponent this season.

• BG outshot the Bulls from the floor and from beyond the arc and won the rebounding battle 35-28.

•  Buffalo limited Bowling Green to just ten points in the paint in the second half and scored 27 points off of 28 BG turnovers, while winning the fast break category 18-13.


PREVIEWING CENTRAL MICHIGAN

• The defending conference champion Central Michigan Chippewas enter Saturday afternoon's contest against the Bulls with a 17-6 overall, 8-3 MAC record on the year.

• The Chippewas are coming off an 87-53 win at Western Michigan on Wednesday.

• Central Michigan is led offensively by senior guard Presley Hudson who is averaging 20.6 points per game while pulling down 4.0 rebounds and dishing out 5.7 assists per game.

• Reyna Frost (20.3 ppg, 13.1 rpg) and Micaela Kelly (13.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) are also averaging in double figures.

• Frost is first in the league and in the top 10 in the nation in rebounds per game (13.1), total rebounds (302) and double-doubles (20).
• Hudson was named one of 10 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award.

• The Chippewas are first in the league in field goal percentage (.478), rebounding defense (31.4), rebounding margin (+8.8) and assist/turnover ratio (1.2) while ranking second in scoring offense (81.0), three point field goal percentage (.369), free throw percentage (.751) and rebounding offense (40.2).


TURNING THEM OVER

• Since taking over the program seven seasons ago, head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has prided herself on having a team committed to defense and that is no different this season.

• The Buffalo defense is forcing an average of 19.6 turnovers/game across 21 contests.

• As a team, Buffalo is second the MAC and ranks 36th in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.

• The Bulls are also averaging 9.9 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 20.6 points/game off of opponent's turnovers.

• Against cross-town rival Canisius, the Bulls were able to force a season-high 32 Golden Griffen turnovers while only turning over the ball 13 times, a +19 difference on the evening. Buffalo was able to turn those turnovers into 32 points on the way to an 84-66 victory.

• Against #3 Oregon, UB was able to force 19 turnovers by the Oregon Ducks and they turned those chances into 25 points in the loss. The UB defense forced preseason All-American Sabrina Ionescu to commit a season-high seven turnovers.


RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
• The Bulls are excelling in the open court this season, outscoring opponents 267-166 in the fastbreak category.

• Buffalo has held opponents to no fast break points four times this season, while recording at least two fast break points in 21 of 22 contests.

• Over the past two plus seasons, the Bulls have won or tied the fast break category in 74 of their 88 games, including 60 of their 66 wins.


HOME SWEET HOME
• Since Legette-Jack took over before the 2012-13 season, the Bulls hold a 64-28 (.695) record at home across 92 contests.

• Over the last two plus seasons, UB is 27-6 at Alumni Arena. Last year, Buffalo finished a perfect 12-0 at home overall and 9-0 in conference play.

• On the flip side, Legette-Jack's Bulls are 71-54 (.568) on the road or on neutral ground during her tenure.


MACtion
• After seeing two of its teams advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament a year ago (Buffalo, Central Michigan), the Mid-American Conference continues to gain respect on the national stage as four teams are currently ranked in the Mid-Major Top-25 - No. 6 Ohio, No. 7 Buffalo, No. 8 Central Michigan, No. 23 Miami (OH)

*Receiving votes: Toledo, Kent State, Northern Illinois

**As of February 12, 2019


YOUNG BULLS

• Buffalo is tied with Ball State for the youngest roster in the MAC with six true freshmen.

• Buffalo's six freshmen rank as the fifth most freshmen on a NCAA Division I women's basketball roster in the country. Only 18 teams have more the Buffalo's six.


DILLY DILLY

• Senior Cierra Dillard is in her final season in a Buffalo uniform and the ultra-talented guard has accumulated 1,899 career points across her stops with UMass and the Bulls. She finished off her first season in a UB jersey leading the squad with 566 points which ranked fourth in school history for points in a single season.

• Dillard set a program record with 43 points against Eastern Michigan on January 9, 2019, besting the previous mark of 39 set by Brittany Hedderson in 2011.

• Dillard became the fastest player in UB history to get to 1,000 career points, doing so in just 53 games. She is Buffalo's 25th 1,000 point scorer and one of only four to reach that milestone in less than 100 games.

• Dillard now has 1,116 points in a UB uniform, moving her into 17th place on the all-time scoring list.

• So far this season, Dillard has been nothing short of great for the Bulls as she has scored 20+ points in 19 of 22 contests this season, including a stretch of 11 straight 20+ point efforts, and four 30+ point performances (Oregon, Georgetown, Eastern Michigan and Kent State). Dillard is currently third in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.0 points per game for the Bulls through the first 22 games of the season.

• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in 20 of 22 games this season and is averaging 25.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.8 steals while connecting on 39.3% of her shots and an impressive 79.9% of her free throw attempts on the year.

• Against #3 Oregon, Dillard out produced preseason All-American Sabrina Ionescu as she posted a game-high 32 points, five assists and four rebounds against the #3 team in the country.

• Across her career, Dillard has produced at least one steal in 53 of 55 games and recorded multiple steals in 43 games. She set a career-high with seven thefts in a win over Toledo (1/20/18) last season.

• The crafty passer has recorded at least one assist in each of her 56 career games while recording 5+ helpers 13 times this season. She has also led the team in assists 32 times during her UB career.

• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 39 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 30 times. The Bulls own a 23-7 record when Dillard scores 20+ points.


SUMMER TIME IN BUFFALO

• Junior forward Summer Hemphill made her first return to the court since last March on Dec. 18th against Dartmouth.

• Hemphill is currently averaging 13.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game on the season.

• The Buffalo, NY native has recorded eight double-doubles on the year, including seven of the last 11 games.

• In her 2018-19 season debut, the versatile scorer knocked down a career-high 24 points on the night while adding 14 rebounds to her stat line on her way to her 11th career double-double performance. Hemphill ended the night shooting 8-of-13 from the floor and 8-of-11 from the charity stripe in the Bulls' 75-69 victory over the Big Green.


TAKING OVER THE REINS AT POINT GUARD

• With the departure of the Bulls all-time leader in assists, Stephanie Reid, UB needed to find a replacement at the point guard spot and it appears as though they have found their floor general in sophomore Hanna Hall.

• Hall returns for her second year with the Bulls and looks poised to take over the starting duties after earning the start in each of the Bulls 22 games this season.

• The Hamilton, ON native is currently averaging 27.9 minutes, 6.8 points, 2.7 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

• The sophomore point had the best game of her career at Eastern Michigan (1/9/19) as she went 6-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc on the night, finishing with a career-high 20 points. She also added three rebounds, three steals and an assist to her impressive stat line.

• Hall came up big in the MAC opener against Ohio, connecting on a season-best four three-pointers, including two to tie the game late, finishing the game with 12 points, 7 assists, two rebounds and three steals across 44 minutes of work.


ONWUKA TURNING HEADS IN STARTING ROLE

• Junior wing Theresa Onwuka has been a strong bench player for the Bulls across her first two seasons with the squad but she has embraced her new role as a starter this season, starting in all 22 contests for the Bulls on the year.

• The Nigeria native earned an invite to the Nigerian national camp over the summer as she practiced and trained with the top basketball players from her home country. The experience helped Onwuka grow as a player and helped build her confidence.

• Onwuka is enjoying a strong junior season, averaging 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 47.1% from the floor and 76.9% from the free throw line.

• The junior guard proved she could compete with any team in the nation, pulling down a season-high 13 rebounds while adding five points and two assists against #8 Stanford.

• Against #3 Oregon, Onwuka played 21 minutes and finished with three points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds.

• In the Dec. 18th showdown against Dartmouth, Onwuka was a key contributor to the Bulls offense as she connected on 7-of-12 from the floor, good for an 18 point outburst. Onwuka also grabbed a then season-high nine rebounds in an all-around performance that helped guide the Bulls to the 75-69 victory.


WILKINS CONTINUES STRONG PLAY

• Senior sharpshooter Courtney Wilkins looked to be more of a factor and score the ball on a more consistent basis and she has embraced that role, averaging 25.4 minutes per game.

• Earning her third straight start early in the campaign, Wilkins was a difference maker for the Bulls on Nov. 23rd against #3 Oregon as she netted a season-high 19 points while connecting on a season-best 5-of-11 three-pointers across 30 minutes.

• Wilkins showed flashes of being an impact performer near the end of last season as she went off for a career-high 23 points off the bench in the Bulls First Round NCAA Tournament victory over #6 South Florida. Wilkins finished the game going 7-for-10 from the field and 5-for-8 from behind the three-point line in the win.


HONORS KEEP ROLLING IN FOR DILLARD

• Senior guard Cierra Dillard was named MAC East Player of the Week on February 12th after leading the Bulls to wins against Toledo and Kent State. It is the fifth weekly honor for Dillard this season.

• Dillard was named one of 10 candidates for the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, recognizing the top shooting guard in women's NCAA Division 1 college basketball.

• The Rochester, NY native was named espnW's National Player of the Week on January 14th after averaging 34.5 points per game, while adding 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 4.0 steals per contest over a two week stretch that included wins at Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH).

• Additionally, Dillard was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List as she is one of 50 players on the list and the only mid-major player to earn a spot on the prestigious list. She is also the lone UB women's basketball player to earn a spot on the list in school history.

• She was also selected by local media and athletic communication offices as the Preseason Big 4 Player of the Year.

• Dillard was also one of three unanimous First Team All-Big 4 representatives.


80 PLUS

• The Bulls have always been known for their defense but last season the UB offense began to take over some of the recognition that led the Bulls to a historic season.

• The Bulls are tough to beat when they scored 80+ points as they own a 25-3 record dating back to last season when doing so.

• The Bulls have posted 80+ performances on eight occasions this season, coming away with victories in seven of those games.

• Against #3 Oregon, the Buffalo offense posted their second straight 80+ point effort in the loss. The Bulls posted 82 points against the Ducks, the most scored against the nationally ranked opponent this season.

• Buffalo closed out last season averaging 78.4 points/game which ranked third in the MAC and 24th in the NCAA.

• The potent UB attack was able to set a program record with 18 games going over 80 points scored including 12 such games across their final 18 games of the season.

• Overall, Buffalo scored 70+ points in 30 of their 37 games including doing so in 21 of their 23 games against MAC opponents.

• The 102 points scored by the Bulls in their First Round NCAA Tournament victory over #6 South Florida were the most points scored in a single game for the Bulls since December 21, 1995 when they notched 103 points against Wofford.


60 OR LESS
• The Bulls have been known for their defense since head coach Felisha Legette-Jack took over the program which has helped UB produce three straight 20+ win seasons for just the second time.

• Legette-Jack's goal for the team is to keep their opponent under 60 points as UB is 32-0 when doing so across the past three seasons.

• Buffalo held a total of eight opponents under 50 points last season and they were 8-0 in those games.

• The stingy Buffalo defense held a total of 20 opponents under 70 points last season, winning all 20 of those contests.

• Over the last three seasons, UB is 76-8 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 32-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.


OH HOW SWEET IT WAS
• The Bulls put together their best season in program history last season as they were able to notch their first-ever NCAA Tournament game victories, downing #6 South Florida and #3 Florida State.

• Buffalo and Central Michigan became just the second and third MAC schools in conference history to earn a spot in the Sweet 16.

• With their 21-point victory over #3 Florida State, the Bulls became the first double digit seed to win a second round NCAA Tournament game by 20+ points in tournament history.

• The Bulls were also the first double-digit seed in NCAA Tournament history to score 100+ points when they defeated No. 6 South Florida by the score of 102-79.

During their magical NCAA Tournament run, the Buffalo offense averaged 83.7 points/game while connecting on 44.9% of their shots and hitting 26 three-pointers.


UP NEXT:

The Bulls begin a stretch of three straight road contests starting with a game at Ball State on Wednesday, February 20. Time to be determined.