DELAND, FL – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team got out to a 23-point lead and despite a late Stetson rally was able to hold on for a 65-53 win against the host Hatters in the consolation game of the Stetson Hatter Classic.
The two teams were unable to find the scoring column for the first three minutes of the game, before Stetson scored a bucket for its first and only lead of the game. The Hatter lead lasted for all of 13 seconds as sophomore Ephesia Holmes hit her first three-pointer of the season and UB led for the final 37 minutes. The Bulls had a 5-2 lead when freshman Nicki Hopkins went on to score the next six points for UB as they led early at 11-4. The Hatters cut the lead to 16-11 when Hopkins converted on three free throws and then hit her third three-pointer of the half as she scored 12 of UB's first 22 points. UB led by as many as 14 points in the opening half, which was their lead going into the half.
It looked as though the Bulls would pull away in the second half as UB started the half on an 18-9 run, which was capped off on the second of two threes from freshman Abby Dowd, giving the Bulls a 53-30 lead. However, the host Hatters wouldn't go away as they went on a 14-0 run over the next five minutes to pull within nine with 5:40 left in the half. Redshirt junior Ashley Zuber finally put an end to the run with a clutch jumper to put UB back up 11, but the Hatters responded with six straight points, cutting the UB lead to five with 4:04 left in the half. Stetson got as close as four with 2:22 left when another Zuber bucket began an 8-0 UB run that ended the game. The Bulls hit six of their final seven free throws in the game.
"Stetson made a strong run and got comfortable in their offense, but we were able to withstand their run and hold on for the win," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "We are learning every day and getting ready for conference play next week."
The Bulls were led by Kourtney Brown, who had her second double-double in as many days with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Brown was named to the All-Tournament team, her second all-tournament team of the season. Hopkins had 12 points and a career-high four rebounds, while Dowd tied her career-high with 10 points. Dowd also had four rebounds, four assists and a steal.
The UB defense helped force 27 Stetson turnovers and a lot of that could be attributed to the play of junior Bridgette Kendricks. Kendricks had eight points, seven rebounds, and a career-high five steals.
Stetson was led by 16 points from Kerri Simpson and 14 points from Tierra Brown. Jessica Conner had eight rebounds. Brown also had a game-high six assists.
The Bulls wrap up non-conference play on Sunday afternoon as they return home to host Bucknell at Alumni Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 pm.