No. 10 Bulls Battle No. 7 Rutgers In The NCAA Tournament on Friday

Team huddle

No. 10 Buffalo (23-9, 12-6 MAC) vs. No. 7 Rutgers (22-9, 13-5 Big Ten)

March 22, 2019

Gampel Pavilion – 4:30 p.m.

Bulls on the Air

Radio – 107.3 FM/AM1400/TuneIn App

Television: ESPN2

BUFFALO, NY –  After securing the second MAC Championship in program history, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team will open up the 2019 NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon against the No. 7 seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The teams will square off inside Gampel Pavilion on the campus of the University of Connecticut around 4:30 pm. Buffalo is making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last four seasons. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Adam Amin (pbp) and Kara Lawson (color) announcing, as well as 107.3 FM/AM1400 with Matt Mattia and Amy Audibert announcing.

TODAY'S STORYLINES

• Buffalo is making their third trip in four seasons to the NCAA Tournament and are coming off the program's first Sweet 16 appearance in 2018.

• Buffalo is one of 23 schools to have both their men's and women's team in the NCAA Tournament and one of only three schools to have earned an automatic bid on both sides.

• This marks the second ever meeting between the two programs, with Rutgers winning the first meeting in 1998.

• The Bulls have dominated the paint this season as UB has won or tied the scoring in the paint category in 28 of 32 games this season and are 19-3 when winning the battle inside.

Cierra Dillard was named MAC Tournament MVP after averaging a team-best 24.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.0 steals. Joining Dillard on the All-MAC Tournament team were Summer Hemphill, who averaged 17.7 points and 13.0 rebounds, including a MAC Tournament record 21 boards against Ohio, and Hanna Hall who averaged 14.3 points, while connecting on a team-best 11 three pointers during the three games in Cleveland.

• The Bulls won their 20th game of the season on March 6, marking just the second time in program history that UB has won 20+ games in four straight seasons.

• Dillard has scored 20+ points in 28 of the last 32 games and is averaging 25.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.7 apg and 2.8 stls/gm. The senior is currently second in the nation in scoring.


#10 BULLS HEAD TO STORRS TO TAKE ON #7 RUTGERS

• For the third time in four years, the UB women's basketball team will be participating in the NCAA Tournament.

• The Bulls earned a No. 10 seed and will take on No. 7 Rutgers in Storrs, CT on Friday around 4:30 pm. The game will be played on the campus of the University of Connecticut inside Gampel Pavilion.

• Buffalo currently owns a 23-9 overall record while the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 22-9 after falling to eventual champion Iowa in the Big Ten semifinals.

• Saturday's game will air nationally on ESPN2 or it can be listened to on 107.3 FM/AM1400 with Matt Mattia and Amy Audibert on the call.


BULLS WIN MAC CHAMPIONSHIP

• With an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line the University at Buffalo women's basketball team beat Ohio, 77-61, to win the Mid-American Conference Championship on Saturday at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.

• The Bulls made a season-high 13 three-pointers to win their second MAC tournament title in school history.

Cierra Dillard, who was named MAC Tournament MVP, finished with a team-high 22 points, including four three-pointers. Hanna Hall had 17 points, including a career-best five triples. Courtney Wilkins also shot it well from deep, finishing with 12 points on four three-pointers.

• As well as the Bulls shot it from the perimeter, it was the inside play of Summer Hemphill that proved to be the difference. The junior forward scored 16 points and pulled down a MAC Tournament-record 21 rebounds. Buffalo was relentless on the glass, outrebounding Ohio, 46-29. UB grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and scored 24 second-chance points.

• Along with Dillard being named Tournament MVP, Hall and Hemphill were also named to the MAC All-Tournament team.


LET'S DANCE

• For the third time in program history the Bulls will be competing in the NCAA Tournament.

• This marks the second time the Bulls have gotten in as an automatic bid after getting the program's first at-large bid last season.

• Buffalo earned the No. 11 seed in 2018 and stunned No. 6 seed South Florida 102-79 in the first round. The 102 points scored by the Bulls were the most points ever scored by a double digit seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament. UB then defeated No. 3 Florida State 86-64 on their home floor before falling to South Carolina 79-63 in the program's first Sweet 16 appearance.

• UB was the No. 14 seed in 2016 and faced off with No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus, falling to the Buckeyes 88-69 in the first round.


NCAA EXPERIENCE

• The Bulls currently have nine players on their roster that played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, while seniors Courtney Wilkins, Brittany Morrison and Ayoleka Sodade will be making their third appearance in the big dance after qualifying for the postseason tournament in their freshman and junior campaigns.

• Dillard earned All-Albany Regional honors in 2018 after averaging 29.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals while shooting 49.1% from the floor across three NCAA Tournament games. She scored 36 points, including seven three-pointers in the Bulls first-round win over USF and had a huge game in the Bulls Sweet 16 game loss to South Carolina as she netted 29 points, six steals, six assists and three rebounds while connecting on four three pointers.

• Wilkins had a career game in the Bulls NCAA Tournament first round win over South Florida as she netted 23 points, including five three-pointers, both career highs.


MACTION

• Over the last two decades the Mid-American Conference has been looked at as a one bid league but over the last two years the league has been able to buck that trend with Central Michigan earning an at-large bid this year after the 2017-18 Bulls earned the league's first at-large bid since the 1996 season when Kent State and Toledo earned the nods and both won first round games.


DILLARD, HEMPHILL, HALL MAKE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

• After putting forth a stellar effort throughout the MAC Tournament Cierra Dillard was named Tournament MVP. Joining Dillard on the All-Tournament team were Hanna Hall and Summer Hemphill.  

• Dillard closed out her MVP performance averaging 24.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while converting 19-of-20 attempts from the charity stripe.

• Hemphill earned the nod after averaging 17.7 points and 13.0 rebounds per game, including setting a new MAC Tournament record with 21 rebounds against Ohio in the championship game.

• Hall averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game and tied a career-high with five three pointers in the win over Ohio in the MAC championship.

• Prior to the MAC Tournament Dillard was named First Team All-MAC while Hemphill was named to the All-MAC Second Team.


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 15 victories this season by double-digits, including two of their last three games. They have also posted six victories by 20+ points including a season-high 47 point victory, 90-43, over St. Bonaventure on December 23, 2018.

• UB also dominated MAC opponents this season, as they have defeated conference opponents by an average of 17.1 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).


CHARITY WORK

• The Bulls led the MAC and rank third in the nation in free throws made (520) and are ranked 14th nationally in free throw percentage (.773) and 15th nationally in free throws attempted (674).

Cierra Dillard leads the nation in both free throws made and attempts as she is currently 221-of-287 from the line this season. Those numbers are also a UB single-season record.


TURNING THEM OVER

• The Buffalo defense is forcing an average of 18.6 turnovers/game across 32 contests.

• As a team, Buffalo was second the MAC and currently ranks 43rd in the NCAA in turnovers forced this season.

• The Bulls are also averaging 9.8 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 19.6 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. Buffalo was able to turn those turnovers into 32 points on the way to an 84-66 victory.


RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
• The Bulls are excelling in the open court this season, outscoring opponents 438-248 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 31 of 32 contests.

• Over the past two plus seasons, the Bulls have won or tied the fast break category in 82 of their 98 games, including 66 of their 73 wins.


PAINTING A NEW PICTURE

• The Bulls have dominated the paint this season as UB has won or tied the scoring in the paint category in 28 of 32 games this season.

• UB set a season-high with 56 points in the paint at Ball State, scoring 32 of their 40 field goals inside the painted area.

• The Bulls are 19-3 this season when winning the battle inside as they are averaging 33.3 points/game in the paint while holding their opponents to an average of 24.6 points/game down low.


CLEANING THE GLASS

• One of the keys to the Bulls success this season has been their ability to rebound the basketball. The Bulls currently rank third in the MAC and 67th in the NCAA in rebounds/game as they are averaging 40.3/game.

• The Bulls are also limiting their opponents to just 36.0 rebounds/game. Buffalo is 18-4 this season when winning the rebounding battle and just 5-5 when they are outrebounded by their opponents. UB has won the rebounding battle in 22 of 32 games this season, including 14 of 18 MAC games.


CREATING SECOND CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES

• Buffalo has excelled all season long on the offensive glass as the Bulls led the MAC in offensive rebounding, averaging 14.6/game on the season.

• UB grabbed a season-high 26 offensive rebounds against Bowling Green, turning those into 21 second chance points.

• In MAC games, UB has turned up the attack on the offensive glass as they led the conference, averaging 14.9/game, 2.5 offensive rebounds more than 2nd place Kent State.

• Buffalo has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 28 of their 32 games this season and have snagged at least 20 on four occasions. The Bulls take advantage of their offensive rebounds as they are averaging 13.3 second chance points per game on the year.


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 73-56 (.566) on the road or on neutral ground during her tenure.


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 has accumulated 2,156 career points across her stops with UMass and the Bulls.

• The senior set the single-season scoring record, currently with 807 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 1,373 points in a UB uniform, moving her into eighth place on the all-time scoring list.

• The Rochester, NY native scored 20+ points in 28 of 32 contests this season, including a stretch of 11 straight 20+ point efforts, and seven 30+ point performances (Oregon, Georgetown, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ohio and Miami (OH) and Central Michigan). Dillard is currently second in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.2 points per game for the Bulls through the first 32 games of the season.

• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in 29 of 32 games this season and is averaging 25.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.8 steals while connecting on 38.7% of her shots and an impressive 81.3% of her free throw attempts on the year.

• Across her career, Dillard has produced at least one steal in 65 of 67 games and recorded multiple steals in 51 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 67 career games while recording 5+ helpers 18 times this season. She has also led the team in assists 38 times during her UB career.

• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 48 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 39 times. The Bulls own a 30-9 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 14.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game on the season.

• The Buffalo, NY native has recorded 13 double-doubles on the year.

• In her 2018-19 season debut, the versatile scorer poured in a career-high 24 points, while adding 14 rebounds.

• Hemphill tied her career-high with 24 points, including a career-high 12 field goals, in a win over Central Michigan in the MAC Tournament semifinals.

• The junior set the MAC Tournament record with 21 rebounds in a win over Ohio in the championship game.


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 31 of 32 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, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 48.0% from the floor and 74.5% 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.


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 four finalists for the Dawn Staley Award, given to the nation's best guard, and was 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.


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 28-4 record dating back to last season when doing so.

• The Bulls have posted 80+ performances on 15 occasions this season, coming away with victories in 13 of those games.

• Buffalo is currently averaging 76.1 points/game which ranks 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
• Over the last three seasons, UB is 60-3 when holding their opponents to under 70 points and 39-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or less.

• The stingy Buffalo defense held a total of 20 opponents under 70 points this season, winning 18 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
With a win over Rutgers, Buffalo would advance to meet the winner of No. 2 Connecticut and No. 15 Towson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. Game time and television information will be determined at the end of first round play.