ROCHESTER, MI – Freshman Rachael Gregory broke a 59-59 tie with 1.7 seconds left on Friday night, as head coach Felisha Legette-Jack picked up her first win as UB head coach, defeating Oakland, 61-59 at the Athletics Center O'Rena. The Bulls improve to 1-2 on the year.
The Bulls took a six-point lead into the half, the first time this season that Buffalo has led after 20 minutes. However, the story was the second half where Buffalo got out to a 9-point lead following a three-pointer from Nicki Hopkins with 13:11 remaining in the half. The Golden Grizzlies came back and went on to take a two-point lead on two different occasions, but Oakland left points at the free throw line late.
Trailing 57-55 with 2:52 left, the Bulls got four straight points from redshirt sophomore Kristen Sharkey, who had a career-high 22 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Sharkey put the Bulls ahead 59-57, but with 14 seconds left Oakland tied it up following a layup from Elena Popkey. Following a timeout, UB dribbled the ball upcourt and put the ball in the hands of Gregory, who drove the lane and put up the easy two, giving UB the victory.
"I am just so happy for this team to be able to get the win tonight," said Legette-Jack. "We got a lot of contributions tonight and we are going to need everyone to join us in this journey. We will enjoy this tonight and then get ready for Sunday."
Sharkey went 7-of-15 from the floor, but it was her perfect night at the free throw line that led the Bulls to victory. Sophomore Sloane Walton had a career night, hitting three 3-pointers for nine points. Despite fouling out in the second half, Christa Baccas added six points and career highs of 15 rebounds and six blocked shots. Hopkins added six points off the bench, while Margeaux Gupilan had five points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Oakland, which lost for the first time this season, was led by 16 points from Pokey, who added eight rebounds. Elizabeth Hamlet and Annemarie Hamlet each finished with 12 points.
The Bulls return to action on Sunday when they play at Wright State. Tip off is at 3:00 pm.