BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team led for the first 37 minutes on Saturday afternoon, but was unable to hold on to a 15-point halftime advantage, falling to Toledo, the defending MAC Regular Season and WNIT Champions, 77-75, at Alumni Arena. Today was UB's Play 4 Kay game, which helps increase awareness for breast cancer. The Bulls helped raise money for the WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Early on it looked as if the Bulls would used the momentum from the special day as they scored the first nine points of the contest. The Rockets moved back to within four at 14-10, but six straight UB points gave the Bulls their first double digit lead. An 8-0 run by Buffalo later in the opening half gave the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 38-21 with 4:19 left. The Rockets pulled within 11, but the Bulls scored the final four points of the half, capped off on a three pointer from Nicki Hopkins as time expired, giving UB a 49-34 lead in the half, which was its largest halftime lead of the season.
However, the second half belonged to the Rockets, who shot 50.0% in the final 20 minutes, opposed to just 28.6% for the Bulls. Toledo opened the half on a 10-2 run, pulling within seven at 51-44. UB went back up 10 on two more occasions, and continued to hold a nine point lead following two free throws with 5:13 left. The Rockets answered with a 9-0 run, tying the game up for the first time since the opening tip with 2:53 left. The Bulls went back up three on a Brittany Hedderson jumper with 1:22 left, but again Toledo came back with six straight points before a Teresa Semalulu layup pulled UB back within one with four second left. The Bulls then fouled Andola Dortch, who hit one of two from the line, but UB's last second shot from half court was no good.
"I thought the first half was some of the best basketball we played all season," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "However, in the second half we allowed Toledo to run their offense and they hit their shots, which is something you can't do if you want to beat a team of their caliber."
Hedderson led the way with 23 points, the seventh time in eight conference games that she has gone over 20 points in a game. She added four rebounds, two assists and two steals in the game. Redshirt sophomore Nytor Longar added 16 points, six rebounds and three steals, while freshman Christa Baccas finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal off the bench.
Hopkins had her second straight nine-point outing as she went 3-for-4 from behind the arc, all in the first half. Semalulu added eight points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block, while sophomore Margeaux Gupilan had five points, four assists and three steals.
Toledo (13-7, 6-2 MAC) had four players in double figures for the game led by 18 points and five assists from Dortch. Yolanda Richardson added 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, while Courtney Ingersoll finished with 11 points, all in the second half.
The Bulls hit the road again for their next two games beginning Thursday night at Western Michigan.