OXFORD, OH - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team had six players score eight or more points and overcame a 13-point first half deficit as the Bulls defeated Miami (OH), 78-70, on Thursday afternoon at Millett Hall. The victory improved Buffalo to 5-2 in the MAC, tied a top the East Division. Freshman Mackenzie Loesing overcame an early knee injury to lead the Bulls with 19 points.
The game was tied early at 12-12 when the host RedHawks went on an 18-5 run to take their largest lead of the game at 30-17 with 6:04 left in the opening half. However, the Bulls responded thanks in part to sophomore Sloane Walton who had nine of her 15 points in the first half, all coming from behind the arc. A three pointer from senior Nicki Hopkins and a jumper from Kristen Sharkey concluded the half on a 17-6 run for the Bulls as they went into the half down just two, 36-34.
The Bulls came back out of the intermission and played one of their best halves of the season, outscoring the RedHawks, 44-34, over the final 20 minutes. Miami (OH) went up by four in the second half on four separate occasions, but each time the Bulls fought back and with 3:18 left the game remained tied at 67-67. The Bulls responded with a late 7-1 run, which was capped off on a strong move to the basket from Kristen Sharkey, who was fouled and completed the three-point play. Following a jumper from Miami's Erica Almady, Loesing responded with another three-point play, this time getting fouled on a baseline jumper, which put the Bulls up by seven. A late free throw from Margeaux Gupilan gave Buffalo its largest lead of the game at eight, which was the final margin of victory.
"We don't worry about what the other team is doing, we worry about what we can do and as we continue to get to know each other both on the court and as a family it begins to translate in the games," said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "Our defense stepped up late and helped lead us to a great win."
Loesing paced four players in double figures with 19 points, including a 7-9 performance from the free throw line. Loesing added six rebounds and three assists. Walton had 15 points off the bench, tying her career-high with five three pointers. Walton also pulled down three rebounds.
Gupilan came through with a strong second half as she finished with 13 points, seven assists and four rebounds. 10 points and five of those assists came after the break, while more importantly, Gupilan did not turn it over in the second half. Sharkey added 11 points, two blocks and a career-high four steals.
Redshirt junior Cherridy Thornton finished with nine points and two assists off the bench, while sophomore Christa Baccas had eight points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out. Following a game where she played all 40 minutes, Hopkins saw 36 minutes of action this afternoon with three points and a career-high six assists.
Miami was led by 18 points from Hannah Robertson and 17 points from Almady. Kirsten Olowinski finished with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Bulls will remain on the road Saturday afternoon as they head to Akron. Tip off against the Zips is at 2:00 pm.