It’s no surprise that the 2016 MAC Championship carries some clout, but Women’s Hoops jump from eighth place in the 2016 regular season to second in the East in the 2016-17 preseason is a pleasant surprise no matter what.
UB was selected behind Ohio, a juggernaut of a MAC program under head coach Bob Boldon whose only in-conference losses the last two seasons were a trio of defeats at the hands of the Bulls last season. Buffalo’s triumphs over Ohio, and especially Kiyanna Black, helped them garner three votes to win the division to the Bobcats’ nine. Central Michigan, who fell to UB in the MAC Championship and boast a ton of underclass talent, was the unanimous pick to win the West.
UB received one vote to repeat as conference champions to Ohio’s seven and CMU’s four.
Last year’s Bulls group was a young team needing to replace nearly the entire starting lineup that made their name early with stifling defense, saw plenty of inconsistency in both play and lineup assembly during the season, and then ran the MAC Tournament playing a more wide-open offensive game than we had seen all season. This year, nearly the entire group returns with experience and is joined by three potential impact freshmen in Summer Hemphill, Lawrencia Moten, and Tessy Onwuka.
Individually, UB’s dynamic backcourt found preseason conference honors, as both JoAnna Smith and Stephanie Reid were named Preseason All-MAC East.
UB opens their season Friday, November 11th, against Massachusetts, though they may raise their championship banner the Friday prior before an exhibition against Bloomsburg.