A dominant first quarter was all that the Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball team needed to grab a win in their season opener last week. Now, the Bulls turn their attention to the rest of the season and that begins with another home matchup in Alumni Arena as Buffalo will take on Big 4 rival Niagara.
Niagara is lead by head coach Jada Pierce. Coming from St. Joseph’s as an assistant, she made her Division I head coaching debut last season for the Purple Eagles. Overall, she lead the Purple Eagles to a 8-23 record while hitting a 5-15 mark in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play.
This season, Niagara has two seniors and only one of them is starting. After having a rough last season, they might hit double digits in wins this year. Regardless, this shouldn’t be a tough matchup for the Bulls.
Players to watch out for in this squad are Victoria Rampado and Tiffany Corselli. Rampado is one of the few players that bring size to table and currently leads Niagara with 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. If Niagara is going to win, it’s going to be through her proficiency in the post. Tiffany Corselli is one of two seniors on this year’s squad. She’s a 5-5 guard averaging 8.5 points per game.
What to watch for
1. Can the Bulls find consistent offense?
Last Friday’s game versus UMass was confusing. The Bulls torched the Minutewomen from beyond the arc in the first quarter, giving us a reason to believe that they could get past the 75 point mark no problem. From there, the offense stalled and the Bulls almost lost the lead in the third quarter.
The offensive chemistry of the starting five is phenomenal, but if UB is going to stay in games where their defense lacks, they need to be able to score. We’ll see what the Bulls can do beyond the first ten minutes of game time.
2. Katherine Ups
After lighting it up at the end of last season, Ups came out of the gate with force in UB’s season opener. Her 16 points and 8 rebounds lead the Bulls and showed that this could be a breakout season for her. I said in preseason that she needs to be more consistent and that effort starts tonight. The Bulls are in good hands if she can get to double-digits in scoring.
3. The size advantage
Niagara’s size should really help out the Bulls tonight. The Purple Eagles only have two players that are above six feet in height and their starting point guard is only 5-0. So considering the fact that our shortest player is 5-6, this should be a fun game to watch.
4. The freshmen
If all goes well we should see plenty from Summer Hemphill and Theresa Onwuka. Hemphill has done nothing but impress so far this season with strong efforts in both the Bloomsburg exhibition and in the season opener. If she’s on the cusp of a double-double again, we may have to reevaluate what to expect from her for the rest of this season. We haven’t seen much of Onwuka, but I still think she could be a solid component to the offense.
This is one of the easier games on Buffalo’s non-conference schedule. If Buffalo struggles in this game, we’re going to have a lot to talk about in the coming days. Otherwise, enjoy an easy game for the Bulls.
Feel free to use this article as a Gamethread as well. Tip-off is at 7:00PM and the game will be streamed on ESPN3.