There was no team harder to fit into the 12 Days of Christmas song than women's basketball. But that doesn't mean they didn't provide plenty of cheer and reasons to cheer in the year leading up to Christmas 2014.
The highlight of 2014 for the women's basketball team - both the strongest MAC season for the program in 10 years to end the 2013-14 season, and the 5-3 start to the 2014-15 season - has been the solid depth across the board for Coach Felisha Legette-Jack. Sometimes the team needs it because of foul trouble, and sometimes they get to show it off because they're winning big, but on any night the Bulls have five or six players who could threaten double-digit scoring.
Beyond that, UB's strength is in the frontcourt, and the Bulls flaunt that strength regularly. Seniors Kristen Sharkey and Christa Baccas are joined by sophomore Alexus Malone, and all three could put together All-MAC numbers were they the lone post options on their team. As it is, they should still all receive postseason recognition.
The combo of scoring depth and powerful post play means that Alumni Arena is a double-double factory. In the first eight games of 2014-15 alone, UB has seen nine double-doubles, with Malone accounting for five all on her own. Look at the 20 games from New Year's Day against Roberts Wesleyan to the end of last year, and you add 14 more, bolstered by eight from Sharkey.
Most notably, the Bulls set a program record about a month ago, when they hit the road to faceoff with St. Francis (PA) and came back to Western New York with an 88-80 victory. The 80 points allowed go well against the calling card of this team under Coach Jack, but a full four players notching double-doubles makes it the 40-minute embodiment of Buffalo strength up front in 2014.
The usual suspects all got their numbers: Malone, who leads the team in scoring this year, went for 10 and 13, Baccas 10 and 10, and Sharkey 18 and 13. Those three were joined by Rachael Gregory, who in returning from a knee injury is too big for guards and too fast for forwards and added 11 and 11. Never in the history of UB Women's Basketball, Division 1 or otherwise, had four Bulls done that. Even more impressively, none were the game leader in points, as Mackenzie Loesing put in 26 that night.
It's a little forced because by the end of putting this together I was stuck with Days 4, 6, and 9, but four Bulls putting up double-doubles makes for a memorable night. We saw a ton in 2014, and will see many more in 2015.
Tomorrow's Fifth Day of Bull Run Christmas brings us to bar none the biggest story of the year. Stay tuned and Go Bulls!