BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team held the visiting Northern Illinois Huskies to 46 points and advanced to the Second Round of the 2013 First Energy Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 56-46 victory on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Arena. UB will face Miami (OH) on Wednesday afternoon in second round action. Buffalo improves its record to 11-19 on the year.
The game was a hard-fought battle between two defensive-minded teams that was close through out. Neither team led by more than six points for the first 34 minutes of action before UB went on a 15-5 run late in the second half to take the first double-digit lead of the day.
The Huskies led early in the game as they opened the afternoon on an 8-2 run, but a 12-3 spurt by Buffalo gave the Bulls their first lead of the game. The Bulls never led by more than four in the opening half and they took just a two-point lead into the half.
The second half was a different story as Buffalo turned up the pressure and got outstanding minutes for a number of different players. The game was tied at 25-25 with 15:00 left when the Bulls hit one of their biggest shots of the day as freshman Karin Moss beat the shot clock to knock down a three pointer. The Bulls would never trail again.
Up 32-31 with 9:30 left, Buffalo went on a 15-5 run over the next five minutes, capped off on a layup from sophomore Christa Baccas. The Huskies scored the next four points to pull within seven, but again UB used its athleticism as a fast-break layup by Margeaux Gupilan on a nifty pass from Sloane Walton, put UB back up by nine. NIU tried to respond each time, but Buffalo hit some free throws late, especially from Walton, who went a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in the final two minutes.
"At halftime I looked into these player's eyes and nobody looked like they didn't want to win and the person that came the most ready in the second half was Christa Baccas," said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "This team has a lot of heart and a lot of energy and we are excited to show that off in Cleveland this upcoming week."
Freshman Mackenzie Loesing had a game-high 13 points before fouling out, adding four rebounds and two steals. Kristen Sharkey also finished in double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds. Baccas filled out the stat sheet with eight points, 14 rebounds, six blocks and six steals. Nine of those rebounds and five blocks came in the second half.
Walton and Moss both finished with nine points off the bench as Walton had four rebounds and Moss finished with three rebounds and two steals. Gupilan had five points, but dished out a game-high six assists.
Northern Illinois, which finishes the season at 7-23, was led by 10 points from Natecia Augusta. Ashley Sneed added nine points and seven rebounds.
The Bulls will face Miami (OH) on Wednesday at 2:30 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. The winner will face Akron in the Quarterfinals on Thursday.