One game after ceding eight three-pointers on 10 attempts vs Miami, UB Women's Basketball would probably have liked a different opponent than the Ohio Bobcats, one of the nation's top teams from three, and the likely #1 seed in the MAC.
But it wasn't the threes that hurt the Bulls tonight. Ohio used a dominant stretch that spanned halftime and scored 25 points off 27 UB turnovers overall to build an insurmountable lead before winning 78-70 despite 32 points, many late, from Mackenzie Loesing.
And when I say 'insurmountable,' I mean it, because UB gave it their best run. Switching to the full court press and suddenly finding something on offense, the Bulls ripped off a 13-0 run in just 2:27 that ultimately turned into just a five-point deficit. The ladies have found real second-half success this season using the press, and I for one thought it came too late in the recent Miami loss.
Also plaguing the Bulls of late is their inability to find a third offensive option. Mackenzie Loesing once again topped 20 points, scoring her 32 in just 28 minutes after being forced to the bench late in hte second-half run with an apparent injury. Kristin Sharkey was excellent for 18 points and nine rebounds, but UB's next-highest scorer was Alexus Malone, with eight points.
Tonight, it's not that that the full-court-press came too late, but that really any energy at all came too late. Buffalo's successful second-half comebacks this season have been exciting, but the team has again and again come out of the gate slow, or given up a key run around halftime.
Buffalo had played the Bobcats tough to start the game, holding the home team scoreless for three minutes and owning a 19-18 lead at the under-8 timeout. From there, though, an already sloppy game really tilted against the Bulls, who committed seven turnovers without scoring at all over seven minutes. At the half, Buffalo trailed 31-24, with 13 points from Loesing the only notable offensive contribution.
There was a lot of good in this game once UB really got going. It's regrettable that it took 28 minutes and a 21-point deficit to see it. The Bulls shot 16-18 from the line, forced 19 turnovers themselves, and did hold the Bobcats to 34%shooting from distance, but couldn't stop Kiyanna Black in particular, who scored 29 on six made three-pointers for the hosts.
With road games against bottom-feeders Kent State and Bowling Green left, UB really needs win out to close the season to have any hope of a bye. That would include a victory over Akron at home on Saturday too. The Zips have the highest scoring offense in the conference, but have lost enough games that Buffalo can still pass them. And if the right UB team shows up for a full game, it can happen.