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Fair’s 30 leads Buffalo past Western Michigan

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 08 Women’s Buffalo at Toledo Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stop me if you have heard this one before ...

Sophomore guard Dyaisha Fair put up huge numbers, with 30 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists ...

Oh, you’ve heard that a few times before. How about ... Buffalo’s front line dominated the paint ...

Heard that one too ... I see ...

It’s a familiar story for UB Women’s Basketball this season, strong guard play led by Fair, dominant paint presence by the front line, and another opponent goes down. This time Buffalo defeated Western Michigan 87–66, to move to 5–2 on the season and 2–0 in the MAC.

Fair’s season high in points went along with strong contributions from the rest of the backcourt: freshman guard Cheyenne McEvans had 11 points and 3 assists, junior guard Jazmine Young had 15 points, 3 assists, and senior guard Hanna Hall had 4 assists.

With WMU looking like it might be making a comeback late in the third quarter, the highlight reel play of the game came when Fair dribbled into the paint and then was triple-teamed ...

You’ve heard this one already? No, I don’t think you have...

... and Fair, with her back towards Young, passed the ball into the corner to Young, who then drove past a defender for a layup. We’ve seen no-look passes before, but I can’t remember a pass when the passer’s back was towards the receiver (except in volleyball, but that’s different...) This highlight reel play can be seen about 46 seconds into this video:

Buffalo picked up 46 points in the paint, compared to Western Michigan’s 16, many of them coming of silky smooth drives by Young or Fair or McEvans, and Buffalo’s front line also seemed to operate in the paint very effectively. Sophomore center Elea Gaba scored the game’s first three baskets in the paint without Western Michigan having an effective answer, and then after Gaba got into foul trouble, it was time for junior forward Keowa Walters to take over. Walters had 10 points, many of them coming after offensive rebounds, and she finished with 7 offensive rebounds and a total of 16 rebounds (her career high). Sophomore forward Loren Christie chipped in with 4 blocks (her career high) and 7 rebounds.

The game was tied at 8–8 in the first quarter, when the Bulls went on a 19–1 run to blow the game open. The points in that 19–1 run were spread roughly evenly between Fair, Young, Walters, Christie and McEvans. The Bulls would push the lead up to 22 early in the second quarter but the Bulls maintained a lead in the high teens or twenties most of the rest of the game. Western Michigan got hot from the three point line for a brief period, and was able to cut the lead to 12 late in the third quarter at 59–47, but the Bulls responded with the Fair-to-Young highlight reel layup and a three pointer by McEvans and the WMU threat was effectively ended.

Notes:

  • Senior forward Summer Hemphill was not in uniform due to injury. Junior forward Ade Adeyeye, who injured her shoulder in the previous game against St. Bonaventure, played only briefly with her shoulder heavily taped.
  • Fair’s shooting percentages were the best of the season for her, with 9-for-19 from the floor, including 4-for-9 from the 3 point line. This was the team’s second highest shooting percentage of the season at 47.8%.
  • Buffalo committed only 10 turnovers, tied for the season best. Buffalo out-rebounded WMU 46 to 37 (not counting “team rebounds”).
  • Two years ago against Western Michigan, the Bulls ended the game on a now legendary play: with 1.1 seconds left and the score tied, Buffalo’s Cierra Dillard threw a perfect 90 foot pass to Hemphill who scored at the buzzer to give Buffalo the win. It was Buffalo’s only lead of the game.
  • Buffalo’s next game is Saturday, January 2, 2021 when the travel to Miami (OH).
  • Former Central Michigan guard Presley Hudson was at Alumni Arena as the new Director of Basketball Operations for Western Michigan. Hudson played extremely well against Buffalo (and really, against everyone) during her career, and is CMU’s all time leading scorer.