Last we saw the UB Women's Basketball team, they were overrun in the second half by the #7-ranked Duke Blue Devils in a loss at Cameron Indoor. Today was a slightly different story, as the big opponent run came early and UB own play for a good stretch of the second half, but ultimately fell in the first round of the Miami Thanksgiving Tournament.
Tulsa junior Ashley Clark led the way early on, hitting double-digit scoring very early in the first half as the Golden Hurricane jumped to a 17-8 lead that stayed at 11 for much of the first twenty. UB did not play overly poorly, though their shooting percentage remained low for the fifth straight half, but Tulsa was above 65% shooting for much of the early going, and headed into the break at 61%.
Buffalo themselves, still without center Christa Baccas, went into the half trailing 46-31, though every player that had seen the floor had at least a bucket in that time. Ayana Bradley led the Bulls with 6 points, while Alexus Malone had 5 points and 5 rebounds. No one was in significant foul trouble at the break, and Tulsa wasn't exactly hitting their free points, anyway.
The first ten minutes of the second half were a very, very different story, as the Bulls came out of the break and dominated their opponents. Buffalo quickly shrank the lead to six, and had is whittled down to three even as the fouls started to pile up. As upsetting as fouls can be, and as much as they've been a very real issue for UB over the last year, a player can commit four legally, and given that Tulsa couldn't hit from the line, I didn't mind at that moment seeing multiple Bulls with three fouls each with ten minutes to play.
From that high-water mark, however, Tulsa was able to put together an 11-3 run to pull away for good. As the UB shooters fell colder, the fouls continued to pile up and did indeed become a problem, as UB committed 18 in the second half despite just a handful during those first ten minutes. You simply need to build a comeback from the floor, not relying on the line. Tulsa would finish shooting just 57% from the line, but earned 35 attempts to UB's 19.
The score is the most important stat, and all 40 minutes count the same, but UB held up rather well after the first five or so minutes and in most stats: For whatever reason the Golden Hurricane were able to come out hot, but the teams played mostly even for the rest of the game, and UB had slight advantages in three-point shooting, blocks, rebounds, and steals while playing about even in assists and turnovers.
Individually, no one ended up fouling out for UB, who were led by yet another Alexus Malone double-double as the sophomore had team highs with 14 points and 10 boards. Rachael Gregory, Mackenzie Loesing, and Kristen Sharkey also hit double digits for the Bulls, while four UB players had 3 or more assists.
Tulsa's Ashley Clark led all scorers with 22 points as the winners shot 57% from the floor. You have to wonder how much of that would change with a healthy Baccas, but a loss is a loss.
Buffalo falls to 2-3 on the year and will finish the two-game holiday tournament with a game tomorrow against Illinois State, who lost to the host Miami Hurricanes today, 95-44. UB's tipoff will follow the 1:00 matchup between the Hurricanes and the Golden Hurricane.