Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball came to play defense in their most recent bout in Alumni Arena. Taking on the best team in the conference is certainly a tall order, but the Bulls came in with grit to fend off the Central Michigan Chippewas. A dominant JoAnna Smith, outstanding performances from UB’s freshmen, and impressive defense at the one from Stephanie Reid and Gabi Bade culminated a 67-56 win.
The Bulls are clearly the MAC team on the uptrend now, and the one with the biggest target on their back.
Tinara Moore was scintillating for Central Michigan, and for the most part she was the only effective part of the Chips’ offense. Coming into today, all of the buzz surrounding Central Michigan was the dominant force that is Presley Hudson. Hudson has averaged over 19 points a game and scored a whopping 43 against Ball State. But, today she was quiet.
Presley Hudson: I believe you’ve met Stephanie Reid before—the best on-ball defender in the MAC.
Reid did not let Hudson out of her sight and refused to let the star of CMU’s offense gain any ground. Reid swarmed Hudson, forcing her to look inside and from there, UB’s tough core of forwards — most notably Cassie Oursler and Summer Hemphill — were there to take care of business. The player who had been generating the most buzz in the MAC soon grew flustered. After 20 minutes of play, Hudson was held to a mediocre 0-4 from the field with just two points to her name.
Reid took a break in the second quarter as Gabi Bade subbed in and caused the same defensive chaos that left Hudson in a bind. It really showed how far Bade has come in the past year on defense—holding her own with one of the best guards in the conference.
The shutdown of Presley Hudson didn’t single handedly win this game. UB’s freshmen had a say in this statement game too. Summer Hemphill quickly got involved on offense and brought in and-one opportunities with ease and Theresa Onwuka played an exuberant defense of her own. When the next half came, Onwuka took over on offense and showed off a shooting range we haven’t seen from the freshman—she started sinking threes.
But finally, the biggest key to this win is the ascendancy that JoAnna Smith wielded in this game. Today, we saw the classic JoAnna Smith performance. In just the first twenty minutes, the only senior on this team dropped 16 without a problem and came into the second half just as hungry. In her finest performance in a long time, Smith showed that she still had the shooting touch that’s been missing here and there throughout this season.
And as these three factors came together, so did the rest of the recipe for a UB Women’s Basketball win. Buffalo finished the day at 42% in shooting — which isn’t too shabby for the defensive centered team — and they won the rebounding battle. But most of all, their defense left Central Michigan scratching their heads once again.
Smith finished the day with an outstanding 29 points on 11-25 shooting. The freshman duo of Hemphill and Onwuka brought in 10 and 14 points respectively. Hemphill was extremely close to a double-double with her 9 rebounds. Finally, although she failed to make a field goal, Steph Reid’s 12 assists more than makes up for it. It’s the second time she’s achieved that many assists in a single game and it’s her career high.
The Bulls are back to a winning record in the MAC with the win, but they have another tough matchup coming up. On Wednesday they’ll play Ball State and they’re no pushover. The game will be at Alumni Arena with tip-off slated for 7:00PM. The game will also be broadcasted on ESPN3.
Now all UB has to do is keep looking forward, because if they keep playing like they did today, the entire MAC will be staring at their back.