Well, this was unexpected.
For a month, UB fans have wondered where the stingy defense that propelled Buffalo Women's Basketball to 6-0 and 10-4 records has been. Tonight, it returned in force, as UB forced Ohio out of their game and preferred pace for a massive 51-43 upset over the previously 9-0 (MAC) Bobcats.
UB led for 36 minutes with a perfect strategy against the Bobcats' style: accept the visitors' strong defense, win the rebounding advantage, and slow down Ohio's pace while hoping to catch stars Kiyanna Black and Quiera Lampkins on a bad day.
Even aside from Buffalo's surprisingly efficient offense against the conference's top defense, the whole story breaks down to Ohio's stars: Black scored 12, but on 4-21 shooting from the floor, and Lampkins scored 11, but committed seven turnovers.
For UB, while Joanna Smith scored 16 to once again lead the Bulls, it was a revelatory showing from senior Karin Moss that tipped the scales. Moss scored 11 on 4-9 shooting, pulled in 4 rebounds, and added a pair each of steals and assists in exactly the type of game she can bring when on.
During the losing streak, we've puzzled over root causes. Should Stephanie Reid score more? Should the lineup and rotation be different? Quietly, the Bulls have been beaten on the boards for a bit now, but tonight took advantage of Ohio's biggest weakness even as Cassie Oursler struggled with foul trouble and outrebounded the Bobcats 37-33.
The win was Felisha Legette-Jack's 200th career victory. UB remains over .500 and now hosts another MAC power in Ball State this coming Saturday. We'll have takeaways tomorrow.