BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team outscored visiting Niagara, 29-16, in the second half allowing the Purple Eagles to shoot just 13.0 percent over the final 20 minutes, as the Bulls snapped a two-game skid with a 58-42 win Tuesday night at Alumni Arena. The win evens UB's record to 5-5.
The Bulls were outshot in the opening half as Niagara shot 44.0 percent from the floor, but the Bulls still held a three-point advantage going into the half. Niagara took its only lead of the game early on at 3-2, but an 11-2 UB run put the Bulls up by eight just seven minutes into the contest. The eight-point advantage was UB's biggest of the half as Niagara cut it to one at 22-21 with four minutes left in the opening half. The Bulls would go into the lockerroom up 29-26.
The second half was a different story as UB turned it up defensively as Niagara shot 3-for-23 in the second half. UB opened the half on a 12-0 run over the first nine minutes, two of those coming on a shot clock buzzer beater from senior Kourtney Brown, who threw up a wild shot that found nothing but net. The Purple Eagles got their first points of the half on two free throws, but UB still kept Niagara without a field goal for 11 minutes and 40 seconds before a three-point attempt by Chanel Johnson was good. The Bulls continued to extend their lead and a three by Beth Christensen with 3:41 left put the Bulls up by 22 with 3:41 left. UB took its largest lead of the game at 23 on a free throw from Bridgette Kendricks with 2:20 left in the half. The Purple Eagles had a second field goal drought which lasted nearly seven minutes before hitting their second field goal of the half with 1:35 to go. Niagara would end the game on a 7-0 run.
"I think we were a little disappointed with our defense in the first half," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "Most of our halftime was focused on our defense and when you have a group of players that listens to what you are saying and then goes out and does it, that is pretty special. You can see that our defense caused some of our offense early on and once that happened our confidence started to grow."
Brown led the way with 15 points and a season-high 18 rebounds to register her 35th career double-double. Brown also had a season-high four blocked shots, two assists and two steals. Senior Jessica Fortman had a season-high 11 points, five rebounds, a block and three assists. Junior Brittany Hedderson finished with eight points, five rebounds, two assists a block and a steal, while fellow junior Teresa Semalulu had a season-high seven points and three rebounds.
In all nine Bulls found the scoring column, including five points for Ashley Zuber and four points for Ephesia Holmes. Christensen, who had an outstanding game defensively, finished with three points, five rebounds, a block and three steals.
The Bulls did an excellent job on Niagara's leading scorer as Liz Flooks finished with just eight points, all of them coming in the first half. Shy Britton led the way for the Purple Eagles with 10 points, while Jessica Flamm had seven rebounds off the bench.
Following a short break for the holidays the Bulls head to the Lehigh Christmas City Classic next week where they will face Mississippi State from the SEC on Wednesday at 5:00 pm. The Bulls will play either Rider or the host Mountain Hawks the following day.