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WBB Flashback: 2019 MAC Tournament

The UB Women’s Basketball team had advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2018, but they came into the 2019 MAC Tournament as the #4 seed, and had to face #5 Kent State in the first round. Kent had beaten UB in the final regular season game by 9 points, but the Bulls ran away from Kent in the first round of the MAC Tournament and defeated them by 33.

This set up a rematch with #1 Central Michigan, the defending MAC Champions, and also a Sweet 16 team the year before. In the their regular season matchups, the Chippewas had twice defeated Buffalo. But in the MAC Semi-Finals, Buffalo came up with an ingenious defense to shut down the Chippewa’s sharp-shooting guard Presley Hudson, who had scored 21 and 28 points in the regular season games. Buffalo’s Summer Hemphill, who stands 6–0, guarded Hudson, who stands 5–6, and essentially prevented Hudson from dominating the game from the three-point line. Hudson had trouble shooting over the taller Hemphill, and had one of her worst shooting statistics of the season, going 2-for-10 from three point land, and 3-for-15 overall. Hudson finished with just 10 points, well below her season average of 20.4.

Buffalo’s Cierra Dillard had 30 points, Hemphill had 24 and 9 rebounds. Guard Hanna Hall had 10 points, and Bulls fans were treated to the bizarre sight of Hall (who stands 5–3) playing the center of Buffalo’s zone defense, right under the basket, while Hemphill, who usually played that area of the court, was out near the three point line guarding Hudson. Buffalo won by 5, and would face #2 Ohio in the next round.

As the two teams were shaking hands after the game, CMU coach Sue Guevara pointed at Dillard, poked Dillard in the chest twice, and said “You make sure you win this <f-word> thing”.

And in the MAC Tournament championship against Ohio, Buffalo would win by 16, as Dillard scored 22, Hemphill had 16, Hall had 17 and Courtney Wilkins had 12. The game was never really close as Buffalo led by 15 at halftime and as many as 21 in the second half. The Bulls were MAC Champions, and the celebration was on.