After a successful season under Felisha Legette-Jack in 2013-14 the UB Women's Basketball team took to the hardwood in Alumni Arena to begin their quest for a MAC Championship against in-state foe Siena College.
Senior forward Kristen Sharkey scored a quick basket to put the Bulls up over the Saints, and then a strong defensive effort from the Siena starters stymied UB's offensive rhythm. Until, in her first game back from a torn ACL and MCL, Rachael Gregory nailed a 3-pointer on her first shot of the game. She would finish the game with 12 points, good for second on the team, on shooting 50% beyond the arc.
The rest of the first half was mired by sloppy play from both teams as there were numerous turnovers and fouls-a-plenty with both teams combining for 19 infractions.
Then, out of the half, forwards Christa Baccas and Mackenzie Loesing hit back to back shots to give the Bulls' offense a much-needed spark. The offensive momentum carried over to the Bulls' defense to start the half as they forced several Siena turnovers and were regularly contesting the Saints' shooters. However, the Bulls couldn't find an answer for Siena freshman forward Margot Hetzke, who paced all players with 29 points.
After several cold minutes of shooting from the Bulls, foul trouble reared its ugly head as sophomore star Alexus "The Truth" Malone fouled out of the game leaving the Bulls without one of their best all-around players. Malone would finish the night leading the team in rebounds and assists with 10 and 3 respectively, while also pitching in 7 points.
As the game neared its end and the officials made several questionable calls, Coach Felisha Legette-Jack wasn't afraid to show her displeasure and frustration with the officiating.
Finally, after several UB fouls and missed shots, Siena went on a 15-0 run and pulled ahead to a 58-50 lead with under a minute remaining. On the Bulls' final possession of the game junior forward Mackenzie Loesing was knocked to the ground after the ball was tipped from her hands. When she realized what had happened Loesing pounded the floor in frustration.
Frustration. No word can more aptly describe the Bulls' first night back on the court.
GAME NOTES/BY THE NUMBERS:
- Christa Baccas had a solid game and ended the night with 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 blocks. She continues to anchor the Bulls on defense.
- Siena attempted 30 shots from the charity stripe, while UB only attempted 11, making 7.
- UB blocked 7 shots, while holding Siena to no blocked shots.
- UB was 7 of 29 from beyond the arc, with Mackenzie Loesing and Rachael Gregory accounting for 6 of the makes and freshman Katherine Ups the other.
- 24 of the 50 UB points came from the bench, 12 coming from Alexus Malone.