The Buffalo Women’s Basketball Team, the #13 seed, hung close to #4 Tennessee for three quarters, but in the end, the Lady Vols took advantage of their superior height to pull away and take an 80–67 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Buffalo finishes the season 25–9 and 16–4 in the MAC.
This was the final game of the careers of sixth year forward Summer Hemphill and senior forward Adebola Adeyeye. Hemphill leaves as the team’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,153, and also only the second player in program history with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
The Lady Vols opened the game with an 8–0 run, causing Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack to call a time out. The Bulls came back by scoring the next 7 points, and extended the run to a 17–7 run, to end the first quarter leading by two. Junior guard Dyaisha Fair and freshman guard Georgia Woolley scored 15 of the Bulls’ points in that run. The final basket of that run, at the buzzer, was a three pointer by Woolley that bounced off the rim twice before going in.
Woolley made a three pointer to start the second quarter to push Buffalo’s lead to five, the largest of the game, and Buffalo still hung close to the Lady Vols, trailing by 32–30 at halftime. Both Fair and Woolley had 10 points at halftime, while no other Bulls had more than 4 points, a symptom of Tennessee’s superior height, as the Bulls struggled to get any offense in the paint the entire game.
Tennessee made even better use of their interior height in the second half, as they slowly pulled away. The Bulls still managed to stay close shooing 9-for-20 in the third quarter, mostly from outside, as Fair picked up 10 points in the quarter. The quarter ended with the Lady Vols leading by 6.
In the fourth quarter, Tennessee finally pulled away for good, as Buffalo shot only 5-for-18 in the fourth quarter, unable to get any points in the paint except for a few uncontested layups after steals by Woolley.
Fair finished with 25 points, and Woolley had 15. No other Bull scored double-digit points. Fair had 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Woolley had three assists and 7 steals (her career high). Hemphill finished with 10 rebounds. Tennessee out-rebounded Buffalo 55–38.
- By any standard, this was another very successful season for the Bulls. Their 16 MAC victories is a program high, their 14 home victories ties the program record, and their 25 victories is second in school history.
- This brings us to the elephant in the room, that which must not be mentioned, but now should be mentioned. The Syracuse women’s basketball head coaching position is open, and Syracuse is conducting a national search for a new head coach. Legette-Jack grew up in Syracuse, player her college basketball at Syracuse, finishing her career there as the team’s all-time leading scorer, and is the only Syracuse female athlete to have her uniform number retired.