Today, UB Women’s Basketball has a chance to do something that hasn’t been done since 2000: stay undefeated seven games in. Buffalo will take on the Hofstra Pride with bad memories of last year’s 79-36 thrashing. If the Bulls continue the play we’ve seen in the past six games, going 7-0 shouldn’t be a problem.
Krista Kilburn-Stevesky has been the head coach of Hofstra every season since Felisha Legette-Jack left for a better job at Indiana in 2006. In her tenure she has had several WNIT appearances and six seasons of 19 wins or better.
Coming off of a 25-3 season and making it to the WNIT quarterfinals, Hofstra was picked in the preseason to finish 3rd in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Pride currently sit at a 4-2 record with a lot of close wins and a very questionable 97-85 loss to Sacramento State.
This will be the second time this season that Buffalo plays a team with real depth as Hofstra has 10 players that can contribute. The Bulls will have to focus in on Ashunae Durant and Aleana Leon. Durant was chosen preseason first team All-CAA at the beginning of the season. She’s averaging a dominating 17.3 points and 11.3 boards per game. Leon — a 5-7 guard — is averaging 9.5 points per game.
What to watch for
1. Stopping Durant
I’d feel much better about UB’s chances in this game if they can stop the 5-10 forward from having her way. UB has had great defense over prolific guards this season but I’m not quite sold on their interior defense despite their strong advantage on the boards. Stopping Hofstra’s best scorer or at least giving her trouble will spell great things for the Bulls.
2. Mariah Suchan
That last point is where Mariah Suchan who comes in. Suchan is having a strong season even though the box score doesn’t quite show it. Usually, we’ve been able to expect the post to be a tough place to score when she’s defending it. I think Suchan will be key in stopping Hofstra’s leading scorer.
3. Return to form in the rebounding battle
UB’s Thursday matchup with UCF saw the Knights lose the rebounding battle by only two rebounds. One of the many characteristics to a typical win by this Bulls squad is their ability to have an obscene rebounding edge of 15 or more. If Buffalo can get back to this, they’ll be in good shape.
4. Keeping the turnovers low
The first three games of the season saw the Bulls commit too many turnovers and it became concerning. Lately, Buffalo has been able to keep better control of the ball on offense, giving up only 11 and 10 turnovers to Sacred Heart and UCF. Let’s hope this trend continues.
Buffalo is playing so much better than they were a year ago when they were 6-0. But, I’m concerned about what Hofstra can do. Hofstra returns a relatively strong lineup and I’m afraid that they have what it takes to upset the Bulls. If Buffalo can manage to win this game, they only have one big test left on the non-conference schedule with Fordham.