November is here, the air is getting colder, and basketball season is about to begin. Tonight, the Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball team begins a journey to defend their newly won Mid-American Conference title. The Bulls will be squaring off in an exhibition against Bloomsburg (NCAA Division II) with hopes to work out some kinks before the season begins.
The Huskies are coached by 1st year head coach Alison Tagliaferri. She has spent her last four years as the head coach at Mansfield University — which means she made a lateral move within the same conference — where she earned a 43-34 overall record. She’s also had assistant coaching stops at Eastern University and West Chester University.
Tagliaferri inherits a Bloomsburg team that went 13-14 overall and 10-12 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play. Like UB’s team last year, the Huskies were loaded with freshmen and sophomores. The bad news for Bloomsburg is the fact that they lost there top-two leading scorers to graduation.
Although they are only a Division II team, some players to watch for are Morgan Klunk and Alex Ross. The duo have the size of Division I guards and scored 11.3 and 9.6 points per game respectively last season. Their weakness is shooting the three ball, so keeping them outside of the arc will spell success for the Bulls.
What to watch for
1. The starting lineup
It’s probably going to take some tinkering throughout the first few games of the season but I’m curious to see who the starting five is for the Bulls. The power-trio of Joanna Smith, Stephanie Reid, and Cassie Oursler are a given but I feel that the other two spots are totally up for grabs.
2. Will we see a small-ball death lineup?
Small-ball is becoming more of a trend in college hoops and Coach Jack has stated she doesn’t mind running a smaller lineup if it works. UB doesn’t have the biggest roster at hand but could play a lineup of Reid-Bade-Smith-Morrison-Oursler and play a faster tempo.
3. The freshman
It’s always a wonderful time to see some new faces on the court for the first time. Tonight we’ll finally get an actual look at what Summer Hemphill, Lawrencia Moten, and Theresa Onwuka have to offer.
4. How much of a smackdown can the Bulls give the Huskies?
Penn State recently just played Bloomsburg and had no problem en route to an 85-41 victory. It’d be nice to compare Buffalo to Penn State should they also win this game by 40+ points.
Easy matchup right here for the Bulls. With all of the returning talent they bring back, Buffalo should outclass Bloomsburg without any problem.