After the Bulls 2018 run to the sweet 16 they lost four starters and a key bench player. Dillard was the teams only returning starter, the school could have easily taken a step back and nobody would have put any fault on the players or coaches, the glut of graduation and slight rebuild is a part of college sports.
Especially when news hit that her teammate, Summer Hemphill, was going to be out for nearly the entire non conference slate.
But Dillard, who put a lot of effort into getting more athletic during the 2018 season, put the team on her back and carried them through the early stages of the season. She was an absolute beast through the early non conference schedule.
She finished the season ranked second in the nation in scoring with an average of 25.3 points per game and in the months of November and December she made a 25+ point game seem mundane.
While Hemphill was out and young players were getting comfortable Dillard’s leadership pushed UB to an at-large worthy resume.
During the MAC tournament, where the Bulls were seeded four, Dillard scored 74 points in three games with the biggest night being a 30 point seed against the #1 seeded Central Michigan Chippewas.
The Chips had perhaps one of the best clutch shooters in the history of the MAC but Dillard, who was having an off night from the field, used her speed and athleticism to draw multiple “and one” plays, and at the charity stripe she went 10-11.
Dillard could have entered the draft last year, and with so many players leaving who would have faulted her.
All this to say the following...
The men have gotten a ton of attention the past couple of seasons, and they’ve earned it. But if you missed out on Cierra Dillard you missed something special.
As far as “Best of all time” at Buffalo, Dillard’s name belongs up there with Sam Pellom and CJ Massinburg.
In the 22 year history of the WNBA no Buffalo player has ever been drafted. UB’s Cierra Dillard looks to be the first tomorrow when the league holds it’s annual draft.
Many current projections have Dillard going late in the second round, to the Minnesota Lynx.
The Lynx are a consistent force in the league. The have participated in six WNBA finals since 2011 and won four of them. They are also always near the top of the league in attendance, having a lot of local support from the community.
The draft is tomorrow and the first round is going to be on ESPN2 with later rounds being broadcast on ESPNU.