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#7 Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball wields aggressive defense to move past #2 Ball State in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals 69-65

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Photo Courtesy of UB Athletics

Don’t count out a Felisha Legette-Jack team in March. For the third straight season, Buffalo Bulls Women’s Basketball booked a berth to the MAC Tournament semi-finals. Defeating #2 seeded Ball State 69-65, the Bulls showed that this is the time of year they shine brightest.

The first half was a wild ride for the Bulls. Getting off to an insanely quick 6-0 start, Buffalo saw Ball State get settled in and the game became knotted up at 10 in no time at all. The two teams traded blows for the rest of the opening quarter, but defense reigned supreme once the second came around.

Ball State had opened up the game with 47% shooting, but soon they stalled out thanks to perfectly executed defense from the Bulls. UB was able to peg the Cardinals below 40% shooting at one point in the second quarter, and a 27-20 lead spawned because of it.

With a seven point gap to hold onto out of the half, the Bulls continued to play defense, but Ball State’s Moriah Monaco caught fire. Evening out the game, Monaco single-handedly helped Ball State get back into a spot where they could snatch the game away from the Bulls.

UB wasn’t having any of that.

All sorts of pieces from the UB roster came to life to open a lead again late and keep it for good. Reid, Smith, and Oursler all did well as usual; but Hemphill, Suchan, and Katherine Ups were crucial in this victory. Ups brought the energy and two shots that changed momentum heavily for the Bulls. Suchan and Hemphill were dominant on the boards and gave maximum effort.

UB destroyed the Cardinals on the rebounding battle thanks to that effort. The 44-33 advantage on the boards helped offset a poor shooting night from beyond the arc and gave Buffalo a ton of extra chances.

UB’s five-star general Stephanie Reid lead the way with 18 points — which included the Bulls’ only three-pointer of the night — and 6 assists. JoAnna Smith wasn’t too far behind with 14 and 9 rebounds. UB’s other stand out performers were Cassie Oursler (9 points, 8 rebounds) and Mariah Suchan (8 points, 8 rebounds).

Buffalo now awaits a MAC semi-final matchup between the winner of #6 Toledo and #3 Kent State. That game will take place on Friday at 1:30PM and will be streamed on ESPN3.