It's good for the up-and-down UB Women's Basketball team that they draw Western Michigan to Alumni Arena tonight. For a second straight week Buffalo's MAC West opponent is one boasting a perfect record at home on the season, but the Broncos are just 3-4 on the road, including 0-2 in MAC play and 1-2 at neutral sites.
Western Michigan is perhaps a bit of a hybrid of the last two UB opponents, both of whom gave the Bulls fits in building large enough leads to hold off fourth quarter surges. Senior forward Miracle Woods has twice been named Second Team All-MAC and currently averages nearly 14 points per game. Like Akron's stars, she can score plenty, averaging 12 points and 6 assists in two foul trouble-shortened games against UB.
Like Ball State, the Broncos also boast a deep well of secondary contributors, as Jessica Jessing, Teagan Reeves, and Meredith Shipman all also average over 9.0 points a game, as the Broncos move quickly to 71 possessions per game. UB's two game losing streak has seen the Bulls take 69 and 79 possessions, but their more comfortable wins this year have come in slower games where possessions are in the low- to mid-60s.
WMU as a team can be very dangerous from distance, making a full extra triple per game while take two fewer attempts. Among those who have taken a reasonable number of attempts, Shipman, Alex Morton, and Najee Smith all shoot better from distance than UB's top outside shooter, and Jessing is essentially even with Joanna Smith, as well. If the Bulls are lax on the edge as they were in the first quarter against Kent State's Larissa Lurken, they could find themselves behind the eight ball in a hurry.
Toledo and Ohio, the two teams to beat WMU in MAC play so far, have done so primarily from the foul line, where the Rockets enjoyed 14 and the Bobcats 9 more attempts than the Broncos, overcoming a collective 22-46 three-point percentage from WMU. UB will need to keep the ball and the bodies moving on offense and ideally find a way to build possession and shots from down low close to the rim.
The game is of course in Alumni Arena, tipping off at 7:00. Video is available on ESPN3 and Sloane Martin audio and live stats on ubbulls.com.