KENT, OH – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team continued its strong play to begin Mid-American Conference play, picking up its third straight win, defeating Kent State, 69-54, Wednesday evening at the M.A.C Center. The victory improves the Bulls to 3-0 in the MAC for the first time since joining the conference in 1998-99.
The Golden Flashes scored the first six points of the contest and continued to lead 14-12 with 8:25 left in the opening half when the Bulls went on a 16-3 run, capped off on a three pointer from sophomore Sloane Walton, who finished with a game-high 16 points. Walton was on fire in the opening half, scoring 11 of her points before intermission, including three off a fast break layup and foul and two on an offensive rebound put back before the first half buzzer sounded. UB, which led by as many as 14 in the first half, went into the break up 13.
Kent State scored the first four points of the second half and pulled within eight at 39-31 and continued to be with a single-digit deficit at 51-42 when the Bulls answered with a 10-1 run to take an 18-point lead, its largest of the game. Five of the points in the run came from freshman Rachael Gregory. The Bulls never led by less than 13 for the remainder of the game. Redshirt junior Cherridy Thornton scored the last eight points of the game for the Bulls.
"This team is starting to play together. They are making mistakes, but they are playing through the mistakes and that is good to see," said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "I really enjoy coaching this team because it has a team-first attitude and on any given night we have someone different that can step up and be significant."
Walton finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including three from downtown range. Walton added two rebounds, an assist and a steal. Fellow sophomore Christa Baccas also had a strong first half and finished the game with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, her second straight 14-rebound performance. Baccas also had three assists and three blocked shots.
Thornton added 14 points, five rebounds and an assist, while Gregory had nine points and four rebounds off the bench. Mackenzie Loesing, the reigning MAC East Player of the Week, finished with six points and four steals. Senior Nicki Hopkins played her best game at the point, finishing with three points, three assists and a career-high three steals in 23 minutes.
The Bulls dominated the specialty stats, holding advantages in points in the paint, points off turnover, second chance points, fast break points and bench points. The UB bench outscored Kent State, 40-14.
Buffalo remains on the road looking for its fourth straight victory on Saturday as it heads to Toledo for a 2:00 pm start.