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2016-17 Buffalo Women’s Basketball Previews: Cassie Oursler

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She’s everything Buffalo needed at the midway point last season. Without Cassie Oursler, the Bulls wouldn’t have had a chance at winning the MAC.

The Basics

Number: 31

Year: She’s a junior again! Hooray!

Position: Center

Hometown: Grand Island, New York

Height: 6-3

New to Buffalo?

She isn’t new to UB, and she isn’t new to her home.

UB Career

Cassie committed to Robert Morris coming out of high school and played there for her freshman season. She was good enough to start there and averaged 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Oursler was named to the All-NEC Rookie team, but more importantly she helped the Colonials reach the NCAA tournament.

When her sophomore season rolled around, Cassie participated in two games before she made a tough decision. Her family was struggling and she needed to go back home to help them out. Oursler decided to transfer to Buffalo, but Robert Morris refused to allow a release from the program, forcing her to sit out a year of eligibility. Because of these guidelines she didn’t play until midway through last season.

Once she was eligible, she didn’t take it for granted. Oursler averaged 8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. She added an important third scoring option to a struggling Buffalo offense.

This season starts with great news. The would-be senior is back to junior status thanks to an approved appeal to the NCAA. Due to the nature of the situation, Oursler will get back a year of eligibility and be able to play next season for the Blue and White.

Further Reading and Viewing:

Bull Run: Buffalo Bulls Women's Basketball Welcomes Stephanie Reid, Courtney Wilkins, Cassie Oursler

And now we're back to Oursler, who seems a be a huge get for the Bulls, and was a surprise to me. Before her three semesters at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, she starred in Western New York at Grand Island High School, and as a Viking was named Western New York Player of the Year after her senior season.

With the Colonials she stepped right into the lineup, starting 25 of 33 games and averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds a game, as well as tallying 53 blocks. With Oursler in the post RMU won the NEC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. After the season ended the freshman was named to the All-NEC Rookie Team. Curiously, RMU is coached by Sal Buscaglia, who was in charge of the women's program in Buffalo for eight years prior to coaching the Manhattan Jaspers and making his way to Pittsburgh.

Bull Run: Buffalo Bulls Women's Basketball at Sacred Heart Pioneers recap: Cassie Oursler's strong debut, Joanna Smith's 24 carry UB in 66-53 win

Cassie Oursler tallied a double double in her UB debut and the Bulls closed their nonconference schedule at 8-3 with a 66-53 road win tonight over the Sacred Heart Pioneers.

In 20 minutes, Oursler totaled 12 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks, at times taking over down low. The 6-3 junior who averaged 7.5 points and 5 rebounds when she last played exceeded expectations and looks like an instant boost to UB's low post.

Bull Run: Cassie Oursler granted season of competition waiver

This upcoming season appeared to be Oursler’s last due to her initial attempt at the waiver being denied last season, meaning she would have lost a year of eligibility to sitting out. UB’s Kelly Cruttenden — who continues to prove how brilliant of an asset she is to the department — and the rest of compliance felt otherwise and chose to appeal the decision. Another season of Oursler donning the blue and white only strengthens the outlook of a 2017-18 edition of the Bulls that will have a senior class highlighted by Mariah Suchan and the Australian-Four.

UB’s Oursler puts family first

2016-17 Outlook

Cassie Oursler is a part of the power trio that comprised of most of UB’s scoring last season. This season, I expect an even bigger jump in her production now that she’s a little more acquainted with the team. Her game is improving and the number of hacking fouls she produces should be a much smaller number this season. The best thing about her right now: Oursler is putting in work to develop a three-point shot and could be hitting from beyond the arc soon.