A running hook shot from freshman guard Georgia Woolley at the buzzer scored, to break a 60–60 tie against Virginia Commonwealth University, giving Buffalo its fifth consecutive win.
Buffalo had taken a 59–50 lead with 1:30 left in the 4th quarter, but then missed crucial free throws and struggled to get the ball inbounds on several plays, helping the Rams come back. Junior guard Dyaisha Fair missed two free throws with 0:15 left, and VCU’s Taya Robinson scored a basket with just 0:09 left to cut the Buffalo lead to two. VCU then fouled Buffalo senior guard Jazmine Young, who made the first of her two free throws, giving Buffalo a three point lead. VCU grabbed the rebound of the second free throw and with 1.4 seconds left on the clock, Sarah Te-Biasu drained a three from the top of the arc to tie the game.
The referees adjusted the clock to 2.5 seconds, giving Woolley just enough time for her heroics. During the time out, Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack later told ESPN that “it was a Stephanie Reid moment” and she told Woolley, as she had told Reid in the 2017 MAC Championship game, “take one dribble and shoot”.
With the throw-in directly in front of Buffalo’s bench, Woolley caught the inbounds pass just inside the side-line, took one dribble towards the lane, splitting two VCU defenders, and put up a running hook shot from the left elbow, the buzzer sounding while the ball was mid-air. Nothing. But. Net. “And the legend of Georgia Woolley continues to grow”, so sayeth Paul Peck.
Woolley’s shot was shown on ESPN SportsCenter.
Buffalo had struggled at the free throw line earlier in the game, making just five of their first 13 free throws, not good in any game but particularly in a tight contest. But with the score tied at 49 in the fourth quarter, Buffalo hit their next 10 consecutive free throws, six of those free throws coming from junior guard Dyaisha Fair. That free throw shooting, plus Buffalo’s defense turning defense into offense, pushed Buffalo’s lead up to 9 with 1:30 to go. In that stretch, Woolley provided steals on two consecutive VCU possessions, one of them resulting in a 60 foot pass to Fair who scored a layup.
VCU also missed key opportunities throughout the game, connecting on only 3 of their first 24 three-point attempts, before Te-Biasu’s three pointer just before the end of the game.
Fair led the Bulls with 23 points. Super-senior forward Summer Hemphill had 13 points and a team-high 9 rebounds. Woolley had 11 points and a team high 3 steals. Fair and Young led the Bulls with 3 assists.
Buffalo is now 6–2 on the season. They are on the road for their next game at Princeton on Tuesday, December 14 at 7pm (ESPN+).
- Woolley had only 1 point in the first half. She made an important three-point shot at 5:53 of the fourth quarter to break a 44–44 tie.
- Legette-Jack let the Bulls play most of the final five minutes with three reserves on the court: Woolley, junior guard Dominique Camp, and junior guard Nia Jordan. It was Camp who struggled to make several late throw-ins against the VCU pressure. But on the final play, Camp’s throw-in found Woolley, and the rest, as they say, is history.
- The last time (that I know of) that a Buffalo women’s basketball play was shown on ESPN SportsCenter was the 94 foot pass from Cierra Dillard to Hemphill against Western Michigan for a buzzer beating layup, January 19, 2019.