The Buffalo Women’s Basketball team used stifling defense, dominance in the paint, spectacular guard play, stifling defense, dominance on the boards to defeat Akron in the MAC Semi-Finals 82–43. It has been a very effective formula for the Bulls, as they are playing their best basketball of the season, blowing out opponent after opponent. Did I mention the stifling defense?
Holy pterodactyl wings, Batman!
In addition, #1 Toledo was upset by #5 Ball State, only Toledo’s second MAC loss of the year, so the Bulls will be the higher seed in the tomorrow’s MAC Championship game. The Bulls will compete for their third MAC championship, and fourth NCAA Tournament berth in seven years.
But, let’s start with the thrice-aformentioned stifling defense. Buffalo’s size in the paint and quickness of their guards kept Akron unable to get into any rhythm on offense. Time after time, the Bulls slowed down the Akron offense, with top-of-the-key defense (or even further out into the backcourt) by freshman guard Georgia Woolley. The long arms and constant motion from Woolley consistently caused Akron’s guard to slow down or come to a stop or adjust their trajectory away from the basket. In truth, Woolley has been doing this all year, and it doesn’t show up in the box score. But junior guard Dyaisha Fair helped out and picked up four steals, sixth year senior forward Summer Hemphill picked up three steals and three blocks. Buffalo’s size in the paint also clearly bothered Akron, which shot 25% and 1-for-19 from beyond the three point line. The MAC Player of the Year Jordyn Dawson was held to 15 points, well below her 22.1 average.
The Bulls pulled off this stifling defense while committing only 7 fouls all game (just 1 in the first half). Holy freaking pterodactyl wings!
Did someone say “stellar guard play”? Can you say “Dyaisha Fair”? Fair used her normal selection of step-back three pointers and incredible moves to score 28 points on 12-for-20 shooting, including 4-for-8 from downtown, plus 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Woolley added 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
Dominance in the paint? Dominance on the boards? Senior forward Adebola Adeyeye went 5-for-5 and scored 13 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. Hemphill had 12 rebounds (which makes her Buffalo’s all-time leading rebounder). Buffalo out-rebounded Akron 44–33, and led in the points-in-the-paint category 46 to 16.
Play of the Game™ goes to Adeyeye, who pulled off the stuff block on Akron’s Dawson in the first quarter. With Dawson rising to shoot, Adeyeye put both of her hands on the ball and forced it straight down to the floor. Almost like a volleyball block. Then Adeyeye grabbed the ball and quickly passed it to Fair, who was streaking to the other end and scored a basket. It appears Adeyeye does not get an assist for that, which would have been pretty cool, a block, a rebound and an assist within about 2 seconds of playing time.
- The MAC Championship Game will be Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 11am (CBS Sports Network).
- It is rare for a player to have three consecutive vowels in their name. Buffalo leads the MAC with two such players, freshman forward Saniaa Wilson and freshman guard Casey Valenti-Paea. If you consider Y a vowel, then Adeyeye has five consecutive vowels in her name, and leads the NCAA in that category.
- Hemphill had a spectacular block herself, early in the first quarter, as Akron’s Layne Ferrell appeared to have a wide open three point shot, but Hemphill closed out quickly and cleanly swatted the ball into the stands.
- Woolley had a spectacular shot go in as she drove down the lane, got bumped backwards, and with her momentum moving away from the basket, still put up a one-handed shot that went in.
- Fair had three spectacular plays, which as you all know, are plays that you can’t even put into words. So I won’t try.
- I was going to make six “Play of the Game™” awards, but then Tim Riordan told me that Bull Run only allows one per game. ☹️
- Highlight reel: https://www.instagram.com/tv/Ca-5VhIDPVK/?utm_medium=copy_link
- Post game press conference with Georgia Woolley, Dyaisha Fair and Felisha Legette Jack. I made a comment earlier in the season that Fair never smiles, but she smiled in this press conference, and FLJ was surprised.
- List of English words with five consecutive vowels: https://www.lexico.com/explore/is-there-an-eight-letter-word-with-five-vowels-in-a-row