|Buffalo Bulls (WBB)||vs.||Fordham Rams|
|Rose Hill Gym, Bronx, NY|
|TV: Atlantic-10 Digital Network|
As we approach New Year’s, Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball will make a trip down to the Bronx for the tenth annual Fordham Holiday classic. The Bulls will be one of four teams including UNC Asheville, Harvard, and host Fordham. Buffalo will play Fordham on the 29th and on the 30th they will face either UNC Asheville or Harvard depending on how their game plays out.
Tomorrow’s game will be the first of three as the Bulls will make their way back to Buffalo on the 31st to open up conference play versus Miami (OH) in Alumni Arena. But for now, we’ll focus on the three possible opponents that the Bulls will face in the next two days.
A game with Fordham is for certain and the Rams are in a solid spot as non-conference play is closing out. The Rams are lead by head coach Stephanie Gaitley, who owns a 562-334 overall record as a head coach.
Gaitley is in her sixth year as coach at Fordham in which she has completely revived the program. In 2013 and 2015, the Rams made the WNIT under her guidance. Most notably, her efforts brought Fordham their first-ever Atlantic-10 Conference Championship in 2014.
This far into the season, Fordham is 9-4 and only have one somewhat bad loss to Iona. The Rams are lead by G’mrice Davis and Danielle Burns. Davis currently averages a double-double with 12.3 points and rebounds per game as Fordham’s go-to option in the post. Burns is averaging 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Fordham is a team that loves to play aggressive defense and will be a big test to UB’s improved offense this season. If UB can find a way to score more than 60 points in this game, chances are they’ll have it in the bag as Fordham just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up. A win would arguably be the second best of the season thus far.
Kathy Delaney-Smith enters her 35th year as the head coach of the Harvard Crimson. In all of that time, she’s put together a fantastic resume. Delaney-Smith has 6 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 Ivy League titles, and a 546-375 record coming into this season. Not bad for a coach that can’t give out athletic scholarships.
Sitting at 9-1, the Crimson’s only loss is to a Minnesota team that hasn’t had a bad loss yet this season. Harvard is currently ranked 9th on ESPNW’s mid-major rankings and should the Bulls face them and get the win, it’ll greatly help their relatively weak non-conference schedule.
Through a balanced scoring attack, Harvard is lead by Destiny Nunley—the only impact senior on the team. Nunley is a 6-1 forward that will bring a challenge to UB’s interior as she averages 12.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Like the game with Fordham, this will be a challenge for UB’s offense. The Crimson have held teams to 52 points or less four times this season and no team besides Minnesota has scored more than 62 points on them.
UNC Asheville Bulldogs
Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick has turned around UNCA’s women’s basketball program in the last four years. Receiving Coach of the Year honors in the Big South Conference, Kirkpatrick lead the Bulldogs to a 26-7 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
UNCA is currently 6-3 on the season and two of those losses aren’t anything to be happy about. The Bulldogs do however brings a strong roster that bodes well in terms of size and should still give Buffalo a good fight should the matchup occur.
The Bulldogs are led by Tianna Knuckles with 12.6 points per game and at 5-10 can shoot the three ball. This will be a tough matchup for the Bulls to handle. Out of all the teams that Buffalo could face this one has the deepest bench at 9 players. Also look out for Sonora Dengokl. She doesn’t blow up the box score but brings high energy to the defensive side of the ball and has been known to blow up on occasion for double digit scoring.