BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team scored 61 second half points but the rally wasn't enough as they fell to MAC West-leading Central Michigan 100-95 in front of a raucous crowd at Alumni Arena on Saturday. With the loss, the Bulls fall to 16-7 on the year, 8-4 in leauge play.
Buffalo's 61 second half points were the most scored by the Bulls in a half this season. The 95 overall points were also a season-high for UB.
Cierra Dillard led all scorers with 29 points while adding nine rebounds, seven assists and seven steals. The senior moved into 15th place on the UB all-time scoring list and also set the single-season program record for free throws attempted at 207, besting the previous mark of 190 set by Kourtney Brown in the 2010-11 season. Summer Hemphill narrowly missed out on another double-double, scoring 21 points to go along with nine rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
After a back and forth start, CMU used a 13-4 run to take a 23-13 lead with 1:16 to play. Courtney Wilkins knocked down a three to trim the lead, but CMU would answer and take a 25-16 after one.
Central Michigan continued its hot shooting, using a quick 5-0 run to start the second and extend the lead to 30-20 at the 7:08 mark. CMU's Presley Hudson began to heat up, hitting back-to-back three's to put CMU up 38-26 at the media timeout. Later, Hudson converted a pair of free throws to give CMU its largest lead of the half, 51-30. UB would use a mini 4-0 run in the final minute to cut the lead to 51-34 at the break. The Chippewas connected on eight three pointers and went a perfect 11-11 from the charity stripe in the first half. The 17 point deficit was the largest faced by the Bulls at the break this season.
The Chippewas maintained a double digit lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter but the Bulls began to claw back, starting with a Dillard and-one to cut it to 65-49. Later, UB would use an 8-0 run to trim the CMU lead to ten, 70-60 with two minutes to go but the Chippewas would answer with a three on the next possession and took a 74-62 lead through three quarters of play.
Buffalo continued to battle back in the fourth as Dillard found Wilkins for a fastbreak layup to cut the lead to 83-72 at the final media timeout. Still trailing by double digits, Dillard put together a 4-0 run of her own to pull UB within five with 1:52 to play. Later with the Bulls down seven, Dillard drilled a triple to cut the lead to four and then on the next possession Hemphill made just her second career three pointer to make it a one point game, 96-95 with 48 seconds to play to cap a 5-0 Bulls run in just 22 seconds. The Bulls had a shot to tie it in the final seconds but Dillard's three was off the mark and CMU sealed the victory at the free throw line.
The Bulls won the rebounding battle 41-37 and scored 30 points off of 22 CMU turnovers while adding 25 second chance points, but the Chippewas shot 50.9% from the field, 13-of-28 (46.6%) from beyond the arc and made 29-of-31 (93.5%) from the free throw line. The 13 made threes were the most by a UB opponent this season.
The Bulls begin a season-long three game road trip on Wednesday, February 20, as they travel to Muncie, Indiana to take on Ball State at 7 p.m.