Buffalo Bulls (3-0)
Duquesne Dukes (3-1)
A.J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball will be getting their first real test of the season this afternoon. After starting 3-0 on the season, the Bulls will make a trip to take on Pittsburgh to take on the Duquesne Dukes.
Duquesne is lead by head coach Dan Burt and has continued to thrive under his leadership. His Dukes have been to the postseason every year since taking the helm—including a berth into the NCAA Tournament last year where they lost in the second round to #1 Connecticut. The Dukes finished 28-6 and 13-3 in Atlantic-10 play.
Despite losing three crucial seniors from last year’s squad, the Dukes are on track for just as good of a season if not better thanks to balance in recruiting. Duquesne’s only loss so far this year is to #8 Ohio State, a game where the Buckeyes pushed the tempo as usual.
Buffalo fans should watch out for Chassidy Omogrosso and Amadea Szamosi. Omogrosso is Duquesne’s 5-6 sophomore point guard who is not afraid to score the ball. Four games into the season, she’s averaging a dominant 18.5 points per game. Szamosi is the Dukes’ threat in the front court and has been averaging 13 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. With these two offensive threats in hand, Duquesne will do a great job stretching the floor.
What to watch for
1. Limiting Omogrosso
UB needs to bring their best defensive efforts right out of the game here. Since Duquesne’s leading scorer is their point guard, chances are Stephanie Reid will be in charge of this defensive assignment. Omogrosso carries a lot of this offense on her shoulders despite not being the best shooter from beyond the arc. Reid will have to be prepared for her opponent to drive into the lane a lot.
2. Cassie Oursler
This is not the game for Oursler to foul out. The Bulls will benefit with every minute they can get out of the junior as they’ll be in big trouble trying to defend Szamosi without her. A double-double from Oursler would be huge for Buffalo's hopes in grabbing a win.
3. Summer Hemphill
The freshman continues to be one of the biggest pieces to UB’s game and off of the bench nonetheless. Another on the cusp double-double effort from her would be huge for the Bulls, especially if they can lock down on their defense. Also, having her wreak some havoc running the floor in transition again would be even better.
I don’t care if it hurts their offense, UB should be playing a slower tempo with aggressive defense. Duquesne will not be afraid to speed the tempo up once they start getting shots down and from there it is game over for UB. This won’t be the MAC Semi-finals miracle of last year as Duquesne is a much better team.
Coach Jack has yet to win against Duquesne since coming to Buffalo and this is her best chance yet to do so. If the Bulls hold the Dukes to less than 60 points, I think this is their win. But, the Dukes are still the favorite in this one and will be the best test for the Bulls yet. If Buffalo somehow pulls off this win, expect them to have a serious chance of going into conference play undefeated