In a rematch from last year's turnover-riddled contest, UB Women's Basketball opened their regular season with a 55-38 win over the visiting LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds that featured, as we might have expected, strong defense and streaky offense throughout.
Joanna Smith led the Bulls with 15 points, but needed 19 shots to get there including 13 three-point attempts as UB continued to take nearly half their shots from distance despite shooting 50% from inside the arc on the game. No other player put up the raw numbers of Smith on offense as twelve Bulls saw the floor (ten in the first eight minutes), but Mariah Suchan gave Buffalo a late boost in the first half with eight quick points, and Mirte Scheper scored an efficient seven on four shots.
Bulls fans got a good look at the pecking order off the bench: Ayoleka Sodade and Gabi Bade were the first in, and among the forwards Courtney Wilkins came in moments before Brittany Morrison, though the latter saw more time in the second half, and Tamara Brcina did not play meaningful minutes. All told, only Stephanie Reid played upwards of 30 minutes, and only Scheper, Katherine Ups, and Joanna Smith topped 20.
Defensively, the Bulls stood out, forcing upwards of 30 turnovers and holding the Blackbirds to [33%] shooting and a goose egg from distance. LIU-Brooklyn in fact didn't score at all over the last 5:46 of the fourth quarter. Reid led UB with five steals to go with her six assists and one turnover, and Buffalo as a team had 16 assists on 22 made shots.
Beyond the three-point shooting, which saw Joanna Smith play much more cavalierly than we've seen in the past, UB also failed to impress from the line, where they were just 5-13 on the game.
We'll have more in a takeaways post tomorrow, and the Bulls will be back in action at home Tuesday evening for a 7:00 matchup against crosstown rival Canisius.