It wasn't the high-flying rout Bulls fans saw in Alumni tonight from the men, but UB's Women's Basketball team moved their record to 6-3 with a strong 68-58 road win against the Manhattan Jaspers Friday evening. The Bulls were lead by Joanna Smith's career-high 18 points on 3-5 shooting from outside and also got the customary Alexus Malone double-double in the win.
The road victory is the fourth straight for UB and, while somewhat low-scoring early on, bodes well going forward for a number of reasons.
First, the usual. Alexus Malone continues to average a double-double on the season, scoring 11 and pulling down 13 points tonight. Malone was particularly dominant in the first half, with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and an assist. The Bulls also flashed their trademark defense, holding the Jaspers to just 34% shooting from the floor and without a point for the last 7:21 of the first half.
Secondly, Buffalo for the first time in a half dozen games got the old Mackenzie Loesing back. The shooter has been struggling lately and did not start against Bonaventure or tonight. Even so, you get the feeling that she needs to keep shooting to get the stroke back. Toward the end of the half, Loesing converted a three point play and had a three-pointer called back for being just after the buzzer. She would finish with 13 points.
Thirdly, Coach Jack found big contributions from different names tonight. Joanna Smith's 18 points nearly doubled her previous high, and she added 4 steals and Christa Baccas 3 on the defensive end. UB continues to get better with their aggressive defense, committing just 16 fouls tonight, and even shot above 40% for just the third time.
Days after holding St. Bonaventure to 18 first-half points, Coach Jack's team one-upped themselves, heading into the break with a 27-17 advantage. That ten-point differential is the squad's largest halftime lead of the season, and UB extended it all the way to 53-34 at one point, that the largest lead the Bulls have held at any point this winter.
At 6-3, Buffalo under Coach Jack is off to their best start since 2007-08, and second best in the program's Division 1 history. The Bulls started 7-2 in 2002-03, though lost three more games after that. It's not out of the question to see this year's team hit MAC play with a program-best nonconference record.
UB next plays Sunday, again in New York City, as they'll take on LIU-Brooklyn. The Blackbirds are 2-6 with their lone wins coming against NJIT and Howard.