Sometimes, a win is a win, and I'm just happy for that.
Kent State's interior game, led by 6'4" CiCi Shannon, pressed the UB Women to the limit today, even through serious foul trouble, and the Flashes just never went away until the game ended with Buffalo up 59-57.
The crux of the matter for UB today was a lack of tenacity down low early and an inability to hit free throws when Kent was literally - and I do mean literally - handing them to the Bulls every possession.
When Stephanie Reid struggled early, Karin Moss stepped in for one of her bigger games in some time, scoring eight and adding seven steals to only three fouls. Even better, UB got a vintage performance from Mackenzie Loesing, who scored 19 despite just 1-5 shooting from distance. Shannon scored 13 and added 10 rebounds for Kent State, but only two of those points came in the second half.
Despite an off game, Reid came through in a big way late, collected her own missed free throw with UB only up three in the final 30 seconds. In a game where UB overcame serious first-half struggles inside and shot only 19-37 from the line, it was a fitting way for the Bulls to seal the game.
Buffalo once again capitalized with a strong showing out of the break, using a quick 8-0 run to turn a 33-24 halftime deficit into a 36-36 tie with over 17 minutes to place. The deficit had ballooned as large as 13 prior to the final media timeout, helped in part from Shannon having her way with Christa Baccas down low and Kristen Sharkey sitting with two fouls.
In the second half, Alexus Malone worked the brunt of the offense down low and proved too strong for Kent's other forwards while Shannon was drawn out to guard Sharkey on the perimeter. It also helped that the Golden Flashes committed 19 fouls in the second half alone and put UB into the double bonus with 13 minutes to play.
UB let the Flashes hand around thanks to that awful FT%, but also allowed the visitors to shoot nearly 50% and claim a slim rebounding advantage. But in addition to the fouls, Buffalo forced a TON - 23 - turnovers and converted them into 28 points. That's half their points!
UB remains at home with another winnable game this coming Saturday, when the Bulls will host the Miami RedHawks at 2:00 PM in Alumni Arena. Like Kent State, the RedHawks are near the very bottom of the conference and - especially in Alumni - are a team UB needs to beat to make the best case possible for a top-four seed in the MAC Tournament.