With a program record on the line, Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball will take on St. Bonaventure with hopes to avenge the 59-32 loss the Bulls were handed last season. The matchup will be the final one in Alumni Arena before the Bulls open MAC play on New Years Eve versus Miami (OH).
St. Bonaventure experienced a shakeup during the offseason after making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as former head coach Jim Crowley was hired away to Providence. Since then, the Bonnies have hired Jesse Fleming—who has spent the last four years as associate head coach to Bowling Green’s Jennifer Roos.
So far, the Bonnies don’t look like they’re in shape to make another tourney run. Sitting at 5-6 on the season, they’ve been routed by the likes of Canisius, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Bucknell, and Niagara. With that being said, you can’t expect much from a team that has a lot of freshmen and sophomores.
St. Bonaventure is lead by 5-9 guard Mariah Ruff with 13.3 points per game. She’s also averaging 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. She accounts for a lot of the shots taken for the Bonnies despite not being the most accurate of a shooter. Gabby Richmond is another Bonnie to keep an eye out for as she’s averaging 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds a night. Finally, freshman Jalisha Terry is worth paying attention to as she’s getting 8.3 points a game.
What to watch for
1. Will the Bulls shutdown Ruff?
Limiting Mariah Ruff is great because you take out the only real threat from beyond the arc. But, the Bonnies are awful so I’m going to look ahead a bit with this one. This would be great practice for a matchup down the road with Ohio and Quiera Lampkins.
2. Turnover margin
UB’s going to have a lot of fun in this game taking the ball away. The Bonnies already have a tough enough time keeping the ball in their possession but their last two outings against tougher opponents have yielded 22 and 29 turnovers respectively. Also, Bonaventure has a tough time forcing turnovers to the point where a single digit outing for their opponents isn’t uncommon.
3. The surprise player
Seems like it’s once a game that a player who hasn’t made a ton of noise lately comes out of the cracks and becomes a huge impact for the Bulls to get the win. You can only wonder at this point who it’s going to be.
4. JoAnna Smith
The last two games have seen the star senior get back into the groove she was in last year. We’ll see how she fares against a team that’s arguably worse than the last opponent.