|Buffalo Bulls||vs.||Miami (Not FL) RedHawks|
|Millett Hall, Oxford, OH|
TV: ESPN 3
Radio: ESPN 1520
With a disheartening loss to Toledo, UB Women’s Basketball could find themselves in real trouble if they manage to lose their next matchup. For the second time this season, the Bulls are going to face the Miami RedHawks, this time on the road. Miami is by no means a good program this year and a loss would be detrimental to how UB looks, but their record in MAC play as well.
The Bulls’ only win in MAC play so far came against the RedHawks when they opened things up in Alumni Arena on New Years Eve. UB executed everything that had got them to the 10-1 start in the first place—torching opponents on the boards, having almost every player contribute, and UB’s defense held their opponent to an abysmal shooting percentage.
Leading UB was JoAnna Smith and Theresa Onwuka. The duo had 11 and 10 points respectively in the 71-45 rout.
Miami since we last met
The RedHawks currently have the same 1-3 MAC mark as the Bulls. After their demise in Alumni, the RedHawks shuffled back to Oxford before they couldn’t keep up with the high octane offense that Western Michigan possesses. Next, Miami went to Savage Arena before they were taken down by the same Toledo team that gave UB troubles. Finally, the RedHawks have collected their first win in conference play with a win against a struggling EMU team.
What to watch for
1. Back to basics
UB should have a fire in their eyes in this game because this is definitely not where they expected to be. UB needs to lock down on defense and dominate the boards instead of worrying about keeping up with their opponent on offense. This team is the perfect example of how good defense can translate to the offensive side.
This category continues to hurt this team. It’s now 6 of the last 8 games where the Bulls have committed 18 or more turnovers. As we’ve seen from men’s basketball, it’s really hard to win games when this happens.
3. The Matchup Zone
I don’t know if UB’s not executing the matchup zone right or that other teams have finally exposed it like Ohio State did back in March. I hope it’s the first and not the latter, but facing a weak opponent like Miami should help UB iron the kinks with what appears to be the lesser of their two defensive schemes right now.
4. Who’s going to step up on offense?
I love it when a team has depth, and this team’s depth is insane, but UB needs a consistent go-to player to step up and produce a lot of offense. JoAnna Smith hasn’t shown the same strength she has had last year while Reid and Oursler have each had their spurts. I would think it be in this trio, but Theresa Onwuka has also been on fire as of late. We’ll see.