If UB Women's Basketball wants to make something of this season, it's high time to get going. While we're barely past the midway point of the MAC schedule, we've also crossed the emotional Rubicon into February, and the postseason is next month.
In a season where the Bulls were expected to ride experienced depth, especially in the frontcourt, to the top spot in the MAC East, big dreams have been slowed by injuries, midseason departures, and persistent issues on the court. With a big 68-61 come-from-behind win over Toledo, UB moves to 5-4 in the MAC and is hopefully ready to surge forward.
These two teams met up not even a few weeks ago, in an overtime game in which the Rockets eliminated a late deficit almost entirely from the line. Early tonight, it looked another tight match, but an extended scoring drought turned an 16-8 Buffalo lead into an 18-27 deficit. Just as she did in bringing the Rockets back in Toledo, Inma Zanoguera proved unstoppable in the first half, to the tune of 14 points, 4 boards, and 3 rebounds.
UB did enjoy some late-half momentum, but with the ball and the last shot, somehow turned a 29-36 deficit into 29-38 before the buzzer. This has happened a few times in the last couple game.
Through the early second half, the best I could say was that is wasn't getting any worse; UB kept Toledo within range, though long range, and 7-9 points. With 12 minutes to play, the Bulls made their move: a 16-2 run over seven minutes keyed by three triples. From there, it was never certain, but UB hit their free throws and closed the game out.
Tonight, it's all about the defense and the interior play. You don't close a 10-point gap without making stops, and UB managed that for a long stretches in the second. And even though those threes did come, the offense was keyed by 26 and 11 from Kristen Sharkey and Christa Baccas. Baccas added 10 boards for the double double.
I'm running late thanks to a certain trio of black and white-clad fellows in Muncie, IN, so I'll have more in tomorrow's takeaways. For now, an exciting come from behind win has the Bulls on an upward swing headed into the second half of MAC play.
UB remains at home for an important test Saturday: a date with MAC East rival Bowling Green at 2:00 PM. The Falcons are having a bit of a down year, and the most important part of making a run up the standings is beating the teams below you.