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Buffalo Bulls 61, West Virginia Mountaineers 84: Women overmatched in first-ever NIT appearance

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UB Athletics

West Virginia Women's Basketball is not a good team from beyond the arc. I swear this is true.

But they were good enough tonight - nearly lights-out in the first half - to build a massive 31 point lead before the break and win their first round WNIT game against the Buffalo Bulls by an easy 84-61 margin.

Even without the three-point shooting, the Mountaineers were a likely strong favorite in this one, one of the "Last Four Out" of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, a program missing the Big Dance for the first time in five or six years, and a team taller than anyone Buffalo had seen since a November matchup against Duke.

There wasn't really a glimmer of hope, either. The hosts opened the game on an 8-0 run and were up 16-2 at the first stoppage. In the first half alone, West Virginia's Teana Muldrow scored 20 points on 5-5 shooting from outside, and UB trailed 50-28 at the break despite converting their final five shots. The Mountaineers were 8-13 from distance to open the game.

The second half was more even, although it would be silly to take too, too much out of that. Joanna Smith continued her strong finish to the season with her first career double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds), and late in the game a 7-0 UB run was punctuated with Mariah Suchan's first three points of her career, despite the freshman seeing time in a handful of contests this season.

At the end, the 23-point margin is about right, though at times WVU hit 30. There's not a whole lot to say; it was just a messy game against a very strong opponent, likely the second-strongest of the season for the Bulls.

We'll have much more in way of a season wrap up in the coming week or so, but for now Buffalo finishes 19-13 on the season to tie their highest win total of the MAC era, and now officially sees off seniors Christa Baccas, Ayana Bradley, and Kristen Sharkey. Once again, huge thanks from all of us to those three seniors for their Buffalo careers.

Go Bulls.