The strong start to February against the MAC's best stalled heavily after three quarters, and UB Women's Basketball fell short of a second straight home upset, blowing a 14-point second half lead to lose to Ball State, 59-57.
Once again, Buffalo took the Cardinals to the final minute, as the teams traded buckets in the final stretch, but the Bulls blinked first at both ends and ran out of time. Joanna Smith led all scorers with 21 points.
Cassie Oursler, avoiding foul trouble while defending the dangerous Nathalie Fontaine, also starred, finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds. The Bulls used long stretches of defense in the first half - when Fontaine was limited to just nine minutes - and a 7-8 shooting run in the third quarter to build a big lead, but the Cardinals used a pair of runs and rushed UB shots in the final 13 minutes to tighten the score.
The Buffalo defense vs Fontaine and Ball State's post presence was the marquee matchup today, and in the end the likely MAC Player of the Year roared her team to the come-from-behind victory, scoring 16 of her 18 points in the second half.
In building the lead, UB played the Cardinals even on the boards and in turnovers, but held their guests to minimal chances from the free throw line and simply shot better. By the final minutes of the game, UB's shooting had taken a nosedive and Ball State held a double-digit advantage on the boards.
Though the game soured late, Felisha Legette-Jack continues to find success with a shorter rotation, helped no doubt by cleaner play. Sophomore Courtney Wilkins in particular continues to contribute critical minutes, today chipping in 8 points with a couple of threes before fouling out as the entire team slowed down in the final stretches.
UB falls to 3-7 in the MAC, and now hits the road to take on Toledo Wednesday.