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Buffalo Bulls at Eastern Michigan Eagles Women's Basketball: Early, late defense not enough for UB against EMU

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Joanna Smith had 19 in defeat.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's MAC opener for the UB Bulls was a classic clash of styles in their road game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. EMU, one of the top scoring teams in the conference, overcame a 13-8 first quarter deficit and a late Buffalo run to control much of the game before weathering a late push to win 67-56.

Buffalo's struggles today are familiar to fans of the team both this year and last. For much of the game the Bulls could not combat Eastern Michigan's pace and tempo even as their defense held the Eagles well below the hosts' average, while a key turning point in the game seemed to come early in the second quarter when three UB players Cassie Oursler, Mirte Scheper, and Joanna Smith all picked up their second fouls early well before halftime.

A 13-0 run brought Buffalo to within three midway through the final quarter, but the visitors couldn't ever get closer than three in the dying minutes, having dug too deep a hole.

Smith led the Bulls with 19 points while Katherine Ups and Oursler added 14 and 9 rebounds, but Buffalo committed 21 turnovers to negate a massive rebounding advantage and dig a hole two deep to overcome. Stephanie Reid had another quieter game, with just 2 assists and 2-7 shooting, while dynamic EMU guard Cha Sweeney had 22 points,  6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.

UB returns to the court and to Alumni Arena on Wednesday for a home match at 7 p.m. against Central Michigan.