Bulls Continue Road Trip at Akron on Saturday

Team Celebration

Buffalo (17-7, 9-4 MAC) vs. Akron (14-10, 5-8 MAC)

February 23, 2019

Rhodes Arena – 5 p.m.

Bulls on the Air

Radio – ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television: ESPN3

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team travels to Akron, Ohio on Saturday to take on the Zips in the middle game of a three-game road trip. It will be the second game of a doubleheader with the Akron men's team. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3 with Michael Reghi (pbp) and Jacki Windon (color) announcing, and broadcast on ESPN 1520 WWKB and TuneIn Radio with Matt Mattia announcing.


TODAY'S STORYLINES

• The contest will mark the 50th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the Bulls holding the series advantage 27-22. UB has won the past six meetings, most recently a 91-72 victory at Alumni Arena on January 23, 2019.

• The Bulls are 3-2 against MAC East opponents this season.

• Buffalo is coming off of a 97-58 victory at Ball State on Wednesday. Summer Hemphill tied a career-high with 24 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Cierra Dillard scored 20 points to go with two rebounds, six assists and two steals while Theresa Onwuka added 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

• The 97 points scored at Ball State were the most by the Bulls this season.

• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 21 of the last 24 games and is averaging 25.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.0 apg and 3.0 stls/gm. The senior is currently second 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 was 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 24 RECAP: BALL STATE

• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team put on a clinic, dominating Ball State on both ends of the floor, in a 97-58 victory at Worthen Arena on Wednesday night.

• The 97 overall points were the most scored by UB this season. The 37 fast break points and 56 points in the paint were also season-highs.

• The Bulls shot an efficient 62.5% from the floor, including 8-of-18 (44.4%) from beyond the arc while converting 9-of-10 from the charity stripe

Summer Hemphill led all scorers, tying a career-high with 24 points while adding 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. It was her ninth double-double of the season.

Cierra Dillard scored 20 points, while adding two rebounds, six assists and two steals while Teresa Onwuka added 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

• Dillard moved into 13th place on the UB all-time scoring list.

• The Bulls won the rebounding battle 36-30 and scored 28 points off of 25 Ball State turnovers.

• The UB defense held the Cardinals to just 34.5% shooting, including 24% from beyond the arc.


PREVIEWING AKRON

• The Akron Zips enter Saturday's contest against the Bulls with a 14-10 overall, 5-8 MAC record on the year.

• The Zips are coming off a 67-60 loss at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday.

• Akron is led offensively by redshirt senior guard Megan Sefcik who is averaging 17.1 points per game while pulling down 3.5 rebounds and dishing out 1.8 assists per game.

• Shaunay Edmonds (10.6 ppg, 2.1 apg) and Haliegh Reinoehl (10.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg) are also averaging in double figures.

• Dating back to 2017-18, Sefcik has scored in double-figures in 28 of her last 36 games.
• As a unit, the Akron ranks fourth in the league and 43rd nationally in three-point field goals made per game (8.1) and ranks fifth in the MAC in scoring defense (65.1).

• Melissa Jackson is in her first season as head coach of the Zips after spending the previous 10 season as an assistant coach.


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 20.0 turnovers/game across 24 contests.

• As a team, Buffalo is second the MAC and ranks 33rd in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.

• The Bulls are also averaging 10.4 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 21.4 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 328-193 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 23 of 24 contests.

• Over the past two plus seasons, the Bulls have won or tied the fast break category in 76 of their 90 games, including 61 of their 67 wins.


HOME SWEET HOME
• Since Legette-Jack took over before the 2012-13 season, the Bulls hold a 64-29 (.688) record at home across 93 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 72-54 (.571) 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. 7 Central Michigan, No. 10 Ohio, No. 15 Miami (OH), No. 16 Buffalo

*Receiving votes: Toledo, Kent State, Northern Illinois

**As of February 19, 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 1,948 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 1,165 points in a UB uniform, moving her into 13th 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 21 of 24 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 second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.0 points per game for the Bulls through the first 24 games of the season.

• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in 21 of 24 games this season and is averaging 25.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals while connecting on 39.3% of her shots and an impressive 78.1% 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 55 of 57 games and recorded multiple steals in 45 games. She matched a career-high with seven thefts in a win over Central Michigan on February 16, 2019.

• The crafty passer has recorded at least one assist in each of her 58 career games while recording 5+ helpers 15 times this season. She has also led the team in assists 34 times during her UB career.

• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 40 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 32 times. The Bulls own a 24-8 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 14.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game on the season.

• The Buffalo, NY native has recorded nine double-doubles on the year, including eight of the last 13 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 tied her career-high with 24 points, including a career-high 10 field goals, and 10 rebounds in a victory at Ball State.


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 22 of the Bulls 24 games this season.

• The Hamilton, ON native is currently averaging 26.7 minutes, 6.5 points, 2.8 assists, 2.4 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 23 of 24 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 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 48.6% from the floor and 77.6% 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 24.6 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 24-4 record dating back to last season when doing so.

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

• Buffalo is currently averaging 76.9 points/game which ranks third in the MAC and 27th in the nation.

• 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.

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

• 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.

• Over the last three seasons, UB is 57-3 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 37-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.

• The stingy Buffalo defense held a total of 17 opponents under 70 points this season, winning 15 of those contests.

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


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 conclude their road trip at Ohio on Wednesday, February 27, at 7 p.m.