BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team used a 30-12 run midway through the second half, defeating Buffalo State, 80-67, in its 2011-12 exhibition opener. The Bulls, who are replacing four starters, had three players in double figures.
The Bulls led for most of the game, trailing just once late in the first half. Early on in the game, UB got a spark from redshirt sophomore Nytor Longar, who came back after missing all of last season with an injury. Longar scored five of the first seven points as the Bulls led by as many as seven on numerous occasions. The Bengals answered every UB run and five straight points late in the first half gave them a 32-30 lead. The Bulls regained the advantage as sophomore Margeaux Gupilan hit a three and senior Teresa Semalulu followed up with a fast break layup. The Bulls ended up taking a 35-33 lead into the half.
Longar came out and scored the first five points of the second half as the Bulls extended their lead to seven. However, Buffalo State again tied it up at 44-44 before UB made its game-changing run. A three pointer from senior Ephesia Holmes put the Buffalo lead into double figures for the first time with 8:20 to go and a layup by Longar would give the Bulls their largest lead at 18 with 4:49 remaining. The Bengals would get no closer than 11 for the remainder of the night.
"I thought we looked a lot better in the second half than in the first," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "We were able to see some different combinations out there and with a lot of new faces that was important for us. We have some things to clean up, but most importantly we got a win tonight."
Senior Brittany Hedderson led the way with 22 points, while Longar added 19 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and three steals. Semalulu added 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and five steals. She also was very efficient from the floor, converting on 7-of-10 shots.
Freshman Christa Baccas had eight points and six rebounds in her debut, going 4-for-6 from the charity stripe. Senior Beth Christensen added nine points and nine rebounds. Senior Ephesia Holmes got the start running the point, as she finished with three points, three rebounds and five assists. Gupilan came off the bench with three points, three rebounds and four assists.
Four other freshmen also made their debut as Valerie Majewski finished with two points, a rebound and an assist. Sloane Walton had an assist and a steal, while Kaila Callender added an offensive rebound. In three minutes of action Kasheema Besley recorded a steal, also taking two shots.
The Bulls will now have nine days as they get ready for their season opener on Friday, Nov. 11 at Niagara. Game time is at 7:00 pm.