Bulls Conclude Regular Season at Kent State on Saturday

Team huddle

Buffalo (20-8, 12-5 MAC) at Kent State (17-11, 10-7 MAC)

March 9, 2019

MAC Center– 2 p.m.

Bulls on the Air

Radio – ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television: ESPN+

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team concludes the regular season at Kent State on Saturday afternoon. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Dave Wilson (pbp) and Henry Palatella (color) announcing, and broadcast on ESPN 1520 WWKB and TuneIn Radio with Matt Mattia announcing.


TODAY'S STORYLINES

• The Bulls have clinched a first round bye to next week's MAC Tournament. 

• The Bulls won their 20th game of the season on Wednesday, marking just the second time in program history that UB has won 20+ games in four straight seasons.

• The contest will mark the 45th meeting all-time between the two teams, with the Golden Flashes holding the series advantage 26-14. The Bulls have won 10 of the last 11 meetings, most recently a 75-66 win at Alumni Arena on February 9, 2019.

• The Bulls are 6-3 against MAC East opponents this season.

• Buffalo is coming off of a 75-61 win over Bowling Green on Wednesday. Cierra Dillard had a game-high 27 points to go with six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 25 of the last 28 games and is averaging 25.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.8 apg and 2.9 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 named MAC East Player of the Week on March 5th. It was the sixth weekly honor for Dillard this season, a program record.

• 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 28 RECAP: BOWLING GREEN

• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team clinched a first round bye to next week's Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 75-61 win over Bowling Green at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night.

• Buffalo produced its fourth straight 20+ win season, marking just the second time in program history that UB has won 20+ games in four straight seasons since the Bulls did it from 1993-97.

• Buffalo more than doubled BGSU on the glass, winning the battle of the boards 52-24, including 26 offensive rebounds, while scoring 36 points in the paint, 21 second chance points and turned 16 Falcons turnovers into 17 points on the other end.

• Dillard led all scorers with 27 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Summer Hemphill recorded her 12th double-double of the season, recording 17 points, 16 rebounds, an assist, two steals and two blocks and Brittany Morrison added a double-double of her own with 14 points and 14 rebounds, 10 of them coming on the offensive glass.

• Dillard set the single-season scoring record with 715 points, surpassing the previous mark of 708 set by Kourtney Brown in the 2010-11 season.

• Dillard moved into 8th place on the UB all-time scoring list.


PREVIEWING KENT STATE

• The Kent State Golden Flashes enter Saturday's contest against the Bulls with a 17-11 overall, 10-7 MAC record on the year.

• The Golden Flashes are coming off a 65-5 victory at rival Akron on Wednesday.

• Kent State is led offensively by redshirt junior guard Megan Carter who is averaging 16.3 points per game while pulling down 4.3 rebounds and dishing out 2.4 assists per game.

• Asiah Dingle (12.6 ppg) and Lindsey Thall (10.3 ppg) also average in double-figures.

• Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the Golden Flashes lead the nation in free throws per game and rank eighth in free throws made. They are currently sixth in the league in free throws made (378) behind Buffalo's 456 made this season.

• As a unit, Kent State leads the league in blocked shots per game (3.82), and rank second in field goal defense (37.9), offensive rebounds per game (12.4) and third in scoring defense (61.6), steals per game (8.54) and turnover margin (3.04).

• Todd Starkey is in his third season as head coach of the Golden Flashes. The 20-year coaching veteran came to Kent State after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana. Starkey was named 2017 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Flashes to a  19-13  overall  record  and  the  nation's largest RPI improvement, jumping 222 spots from the previous season, and the fifth most-improved record in  the  country.


ANOTHER 20+ WIN SEASON

• The wins continue to pile up for the Bulls under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack as they produced their fourth straight 20+ win campaign.

• This marks the second time in school history the Bulls have won 20+ games in four straight seasons since accomplishing that feat from 1993-97.

• Buffalo has posted 12 victories this season by double-digits, including their last three games. They have also posted five victories by 20+ points including a season-high 47 point victory, 90-43, over St. Bonaventure on December 23, 2018.

• UB has also dominated MAC opponents this season, as they have defeated conference opponents by an average of 16.9 points.

• The Bulls won a program-best 29 games last season for the Bulls last season are the third most in MAC history behind Bowling Green in 2007 (31) and in 2014 (30).


TURNING THEM OVER

• The Buffalo defense is forcing an average of 19.4 turnovers/game across 28 contests.

• As a team, Buffalo is second the MAC and ranks 39th in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.

• The Bulls are also averaging 10.2 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 20.3 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. 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 399-211 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 27 of 28 contests.

• Over the past two plus seasons, the Bulls have won or tied the fast break category in 79 of their 94 games, including 64 of their 70 wins.


HOME SWEET HOME
• Since Legette-Jack took over before the 2012-13 season, the Bulls hold a 66-29 (.695) record at home across 95 contests.

• Over the last two seasons, UB is 21-3 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 73-55 (.570) 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. 15 Ohio, No. 19 Buffalo, No. 23 Miami (OH)

*Receiving votes: Toledo

**As of March 5, 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 2,064 career points across her stops with UMass and the Bulls.

• The senior set the single-season scoring record with 715 points, surpassing the previous mark of 708 set by Kourtney Brown in the 2010-11 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.

• The senior scored her 2,000th career point at the free throw line in the fourth quarter of a 30-point win at Ohio on February 27.

• Dillard now has 1,281 points in a UB uniform, moving her into eighth 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 25 of 28 contests this season, including a stretch of 11 straight 20+ point efforts, and six 30+ point performances (Oregon, Georgetown, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ohio and Miami (OH)). Dillard is currently second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.5 points per game for the Bulls through the first 28 games of the season.

• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in 25 of 28 games this season and is averaging 25.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.9 steals while connecting on 38.5% of her shots and an impressive 80.9% of her free throw attempts on the year.

• Across her career, Dillard has produced at least one steal in 61 of 63 games and recorded multiple steals in 48 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 63 career games while recording 5+ helpers 16 times this season. She has also led the team in assists 36 times during her UB career.

• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 44 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 36 times. The Bulls own a 27-9 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 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game on the season.

• The Buffalo, NY native has recorded 12 double-doubles on the year, including 11 of the last 16 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.

• The Buffalo, NY native pulled down a season-high 18 boards in UB's win at Ohio.


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 27 of 28 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 9.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 48.8% from the floor and 74.7% 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.

• 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, while grabbing a then season-high nine rebounds in the win.


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 23.6 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 March 5th after leading the Bulls to big wins at Ohio and against Miami (OH). It is the sixth weekly honor for Dillard this season, a program record.

• 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 in wins at Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH).

• Additionally, Dillard was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List and is 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 25-4 record dating back to last season when doing so.

• The Bulls have posted 80+ performances on 11 occasions this season, coming away with victories in nine of those games.

• Buffalo is currently averaging 76.4 points/game which ranks third in the MAC and 26th 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 58-3 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 38-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.

• The stingy Buffalo defense held a total of 18 opponents under 70 points this season, winning 16 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 travel Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday, March 13, for the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Opponent and time to be determined.