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Time to get excited about UB Women’s Basketball

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Fifth year forward Summer Hemphill
ubbulls.com

When you think about recent UB Women’s Basketball teams, what do you think about?

  • Exciting players from Australia?
  • Exciting players from Europe?
  • Exciting players from Rochester?
  • Exciting players from Canada?
  • One extremely passionate coach?

This year’s version of the UB Women’s Basketball team has all of the above, and if that’s not enough, they also have fifth year forward Summer Hemphill. And a whole lot of other talent. The Bulls open with an exhibition game against Daemen on November 4, then a home game against Canisius on November 9. Then they head off to the Bahamas to face South Carolina and others.

Are you excited yet?

Hemphill, the only remaining player from the Bulls’ Sweet Sixteen team in 2018, returns after missing most of the last two years due to injury. Before she was injured during the 2020-21 season, Hemphill had been named pre-season All-MAC, and has generally been considered one of the top forwards in the MAC for the last several years. In her last really healthy season (2018-19), Hemphill shot 58.1% from the floor and averaged over 10 rebounds per game.

Then there’s junior guard Dyaisha Fair, from Rochester, who as a sophomore was named First-Team All-MAC and to the MAC All-Defensive Team. If you haven’t heard, she can score. She can score a lot. And she has all the other skills you need to play guard at a high level. Last year, she averaged 24.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Fair has been named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list for the best point guard in the country (after making it into the final 10 for the award a year ago) and to the Becky Hammon Award watch list for the best mid-major player.

There’s plenty of other talented players, and it would take forever to list all of their accomplishments. So, position by position, somewhat briefly:

Guard

In addition to Fair, there is senior Jazmine Young, a quick shifty guard who can drive to the rim or score from outside. Freshman Georgia Woolley, from Australia, who put up ridiculous numbers in Aussie tournaments, and at least one teammate said Woolley is the best three point shooter on the team. Junior Nia Jordan, who stands 6–1, is a JuCo transfer from Labette CC, where she scored 11 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. Junior Dominique Camp transfers Troy University and is a strong three-point shooter. Sophomore Cheyenne McEvans had a strong freshman year for UB and was named to the All-MAC Freshman team and averaged 11.5 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore Casey Valenti-Paea, from Australia, is a strong three point shooter, but only played sparingly as a freshman.

Forward

Hemphill. Junior Loren Christie, a strong all-around player at 6–3 who can play inside or nail three pointers. Freshman Laney Bone missed her senior high school season due to injury, but averaged 21.4 points and 10.7 rebounds as a junior. Freshman Saniaa Wilson was ranked No. 18 at her position by ESPN, and finished as her high school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 1,600 points and 1,500 rebounds. Senior Ade Adeyeye shot 56.7% from the floor for UB last year and recorded 4.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore Rama Keita played only sparingly in 8 games for the Bulls as a redshirt freshman. Freshman Kaelonn Wilson averaged 9.9 points and 12.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game as a high school junior, and missed her senior season due to injury. (The two Wilsons are not related)

Center

Junior Elea Gaba averaged career highs in points (6.9), rebounds (3.8) and minutes (15.6) as a sophomore, while shooting 52% from the floor. As a freshman, Gaba scored 16 points at Stanford.

Coaching Staff

The winningest coach in UB Women’s Basketball history, Felisha Legette-Jack has 177–107 record with the Bulls. She begins her 10th year with the team, and has garnered a huge number of accolades, along with being the coach of UB’s only Division I Sweet 16 team in any sport, and three NCAA appearances in four years.

Kristen Sharkey, a former star player for the Bulls, begins her 7th year as assistant. Khyreed Carter begins his sixth year, working primarily with the team’s guards. Blair Estarfaa begins his second year as assistant coach.

Notes

  • Former Bulls player Kourtney Brown (2006–2011) will be inducted into the UB Sports Hall of Fame. Brown is the only UB player to be named MAC Player of the Year and MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Former Bulls forward Keowa Walters has transferred to Virginia Commonwealth. Jessika Schiffer has transferred to Wagner.