Freshman forward Saniaa Wilson, making her collegiate debut, and freshman guard Georgia Woolley, combined to lead the UB Women’s basketball team past Northern Illinois 68–61 yesterday at Alumni Arena, breaking the Bulls’ three game losing streak. Buffalo is now 12–7 and 6–3 in the MAC.
Wilson, from Bishop Kearney High School in the Rochester, NY area, had an extremely successful high school career, becoming Kearney’s all time leading scorer with over 1600 points; and she also recorded 1500 rebounds while at Kearney. She originally signed to play at Seton Hall, but in August of 2021, she transferred to Buffalo.
Unable to play so far this year because of a hip injury, Wilson received the all-clear from the doctors, and suited up for the Bulls. Although she was available and in uniform for the previous two games, Wilson did not appear. Against Northern Illinois, Wilson entered the game after just one minute and 39 seconds and picked up a couple of rebounds and made two free throws in seven minutes of playing time in the first half. In the second half, Wilson made all four of her shots (finishing 4-for-5 for the game) and two more free-throws, to give her 12 points for the game. She also tied for the team lead in rebounds with 7, and led the team with 2 blocks.
Wilson gives the Bulls a presence under the basket that has been missing since the injury to senior forward Ade Adeyeye. Wilson made all four of her baskets in the paint, posting up down low, and operating effectively in heavy traffic.
Woolley picked up 18 points in the first half, with her usual mix of three pointers and running shots, shooting 7-for-10. The third quarter was a problem for Woolley as she missed all seven of her shot attempts. But then she went 3-for-5 in the fourth quarter, as the Bulls tried to hang on to a 3-point lead at the start of the quarter. Woolley finished with a career high 26 points (she had set previous her career high of 24 in the previous game). It was the 13th time in the last 14 games that Woolley has scored double-digit points. Woolley tied Wilson for team lead in rebounds with 7 and tied for the team lead in steals with 3. She had 4 assists.
The Bulls opened the lead up to 9 early in the fourth quarter on a layup from Wilson. The Huskies eventually narrowed Buffalo’s lead to 2 points with 2:29 left. But then Woolley hit a basket, and then a steal by sixth-year senior Summer Hemphill gave Buffalo a fast break, and senior guard Dyaisha Fair passed the ball back to Hemphill for a layup to open the lead up to 6. The teams traded baskets, and Buffalo still led by 4 with 0:19 left, and Northern Illinois had a throw-in from the front court. Fair stole the ball, raced down court and scored a layup to effectively end the game.
Fair continues to struggle on offense, shooting 4-for-18, and has not shot 40% from the floor in her last four games. She continues to contribute in other ways, picking up 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Hemphill had 5 rebounds and shot 4-for-8.
Buffalo next plays at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 7pm (ESPN3).
- For the first time in several games, Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack went “deep” into her bench, as all 8 healthy players (who are not red-shirting) saw playing time.
- Lately, Buffalo has struggled from three-point land, shooting 3-for-18 against Northern Illinois. The Bulls have not shot 30% in their last 5 games.
- The Bulls committed only 12 turnovers. They out-rebounded Northern Illinois 41–38.
- The proper way to pronounce Saniaa — it rhymes with the first name of country music star Shania Twain.