If the first three games of UB's now-five-game streak came thanks to the smooth basketball stylings of Mackenzie Loesing, then the most recent additions to the run came as the sophomore kicked her heels back and let some of her teammates in on the fun.
UB now sits at 5-3 in conference and tied for second in the East Division with Akron thanks to wins over Ball State and Miami in the last week.
The win was Buffalo's fourth in a row after starting 0-3 in conference play, and it's their longest conference winning streak since 2003. Sharkey was their star. She scored 36 points, which is the third-best scoring day in Buffalo history. She also earned ten rebounds and made 11 of 17 field goals, as well as 13 of 14 free throws.
Unlike the Men's team a few days before, the Ladies were able to pull out a close win in Muncie. As you can see in the excerpts above, Kristen Sharkey was the star on the night, earning a double double on 36 and 10 as UB eked out a road win in a matchup of 3-3 MAC teams.
UB actually jumped out to a big early lead in this one, and then, just as they finished the EMU game, let it slip away as the Cardinals got back into the game. Unfortunately, as you'll see in a second, this is becoming a bit of a trend for the Bulls.
Returning to Alumni Arena, the Bulls looked to extend their streak to five as they hosted the Miami Redhawks, who had been struggling this season to a 2-5 MAC record.
Margeaux Gupilan would score a season-high 20 points to lead the team to its fifth straight win in Mid-American Conference play, the second-longest streak in the team's 16 seasons in the MAC and just one away from matching six-game record mark that was set in 2002-03. Similar to the suspenseful win over Eastern Michigan on Jan. 18, the Bulls would allow the opposition to cut into a double-digit lead late after Miami (6-13, 2-6 MAC) went on a 12-2 run from the 3:38 mark in the second half until Moss' game-winner.
Moss would take the inbounds pass and take it the length of the floor with little hesitation, driving up the heart of the paint for the score.
Buffalo responded with three more triples from Gupilan before halftime, including two within the final 30 seconds and one at the buzzer. Despite allowing one more Miami field goal with 37 seconds remaining, the Bulls went to halftime with a 30-20 lead. Miami shot just 5-for-29 (17.2%) in the first half and made seven of their 20 points from the free throw line. Gupilan scored 18 of Buffalo's 30 points but connecting on six of her eight attempts from three-point range.
The RedHawks scored the first six points of the second half to cut Buffalo's lead to four. The teams exchanged two 5-0 mini-runs, and Miami trailed just 36-32 with 12:45 left. However, Buffalo worked the lead back up slowly and increased it to as much as 12. They still led by 11, 54-43, with 3:38 remaining after a layup by Mackenzie Loesing. Miami then went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 56 with 13 seconds left. During that time, Buffalo committed six turnovers and made just one of four shots. The Bulls also helped by sending Miami to the line for six free throws, and the RedHawks converted all six attempts. Miami also got a three from Nicole Anderson during the run.
On Thursday, the star was senior point guard Margeaux Gupilan, who was absolutely en fuego (as they said on SportsCenter when SportsCenter was good) from distance in the first half, to the tune of six threes and 18 points. Paired with her 11-assist performance on Sunday, Gupilan's night against the Redhawks capped off a pretty great week.
At the half, it looked like UB had all the momentum and would be ok to finish the game off against a lesser team. Miami was only as close as they were because of their free throw shooting. Unfortunately, for the third time in three games a double digit lead slipped away, as Miami tied it up with under 20 seconds left.
First things first. Hooray for Karin Moss. Taking the inbounds the length of the floor and right to the rack is a superstar play that takes a lot of confidence. I want that confidence on my teams. Moss was quoted after the game as saying she just knew she was faster than any Miami player and knew she would get by them.
Like the power pitcher in a bases-loaded jam or the bruising running back on 4th and goal from the one, sometimes you just have to say "you know what, this is what's coming. Stop me." Moss's killer instinct kept the game from going into overtime with a whole heck of a lot of Redhawk momentum.
More important things second. I don't know if it's youth or coaching (FLJ had some questionable time out usage in the EMU game), but this team has got to close teams out if it wants to improve on last year's 8-8 record. Right now they're in line for a top-four seed, which would be pretty great for a program that wasn't able to turn the Brown/Zuber era into continued momentum.
This is especially important because UB's next game is their most important yet: an Akron team that shares the #2 slot in the East with Buffalo. The Zips are also coming of a two-win week, as they defeated Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Buffalo will have it's hands full with a team that looks a lot like the Bulls, but plays faster. Akron has a ton of players that can rack up stats quickly, and are lead by Rachel Tecca who on Sunday put together quite simply the best game the MAC has seen in several years, scoring FORTY THREE and pulling down TWENTY TWO rebounds.
I tried to type that without using all-caps, and it's actually impossible. In a season where Crystal Bradford at Central Michigan is making triple doubles look routine, Tecca still managed to place the high water mark for the season well out of reach. And, of course, Akron scored 58 other points on Sunday on their way to a 101-79 romp of the Eagles. Tecca racked up another double double in the Thursday victory over the Rockets, as well.
Tipoff for Bulls-Zips on Sunday is at 2:00 PM in Akron - unfortunately the same time as the Men's important road game in Bowling Green. If the Bulls win on Sunday, they'll have won six straight in MAC play for the first time since the 2002-2003 season, which for those of us who have been around a bit is in the pre-Heather Turner era. Go Bulls