KENT, OH – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team was unable to hold on to a nine-point second half lead as three late free throws from Kent State pushed the host Golden Flashes past the Bulls, 68-66, Tuesday night at the M.A.C. Center.
Free throws would play a pivotal part in the contest as Kent State was able to overcome a poor shooting first half by going to line 15 times in the opening 20 minutes, opposed to the Bulls who did not go to the charity stripe until the second half. UB led by as many as 12 points in the opening half thanks to sophomore Brittany Hedderson, who had 17 points in the opening half, including a career-high five three-pointers. The Bulls led by 11 points in the first half with 2:18 left when Kent State hit four free throws to go into the half down seven at 33-26.
For UB, the second half belonged to Kourtney Brown, who scored the first eight Buffalo points of the half, as she finished with 21 second half points. A Brown layup with 7:33 left gave the Bulls a nine-point lead, but the Golden Flashes would go on to erase that and tie it up with 3:16 left. Kent State took its first lead since early in the first half on a layup with 1:21 left, but the Bulls would retake the lead as Brown converted on a three-point play with 1:09 left to put the Bulls up one. That is when the free throw line would come back into play as Kent State's Taisja Harris was sent there with 56 seconds left and hit both shots to put Kent up one. Following a UB turnover, the Golden Flashes would go to line again and convert on one of two, taking a two-point lead with 24 seconds left. The Bulls would hold on for the last shot, but a jumper from Hedderson wound up short.
The Bulls were led by 25 points from Brown. Her seven rebounds broke a streak of seven straight double-double performances. Brown also had three assists, three blocks and three steals. Hedderson finished with 19 points and four assists, while Jessica Fortman added 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Abby Dowd finished with eight points as just four UB players found the scoring column on the night.
The Golden Flashes were led by 18 points from Ellie Shields, who went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. As a team, Kent State shot 18-of-25 from the line, opposed to UB, who went just 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Kent State was also able to shoot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half, including 62.5 percent from behind the arc.
Now that the first round of games against the MAC East are complete, the Bulls will turn their attention to the MAC West where they will get things started at Northern Illinois on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 2:00 pm Central Time.