BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team won its fourth straight game on Tuesday afternoon with a defensive clinic, defeating Western Michigan, 53-39. The 39 points were the fewest allowed by the Bulls all season as they improve to 13-10 on the season and 6-4 in the MAC.
Both teams had a hard time finding the basket early on as the score was stuck at 8-8 for almost six minutes, before the Broncos broke it to take a 10-8 lead. It would be the last time that Western Michigan would lead in the game. Down 11-10, the Bulls went on a 10-0 run, which was capped off by back-to-back three pointers from Jessica Fortman and Brittany Hedderson. UB would go on to take a seven point lead into the half, 20-13. The 13 first half points by the Broncos were the fewest the Bulls have allowed in a half this season.
The Bulls began to pull away in the second half as they shot over 40 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes. The Broncos cut the lead to four early in the second half as the Bulls led just 24-20 with 16:42 left. However the Bulls would go on a 12-4 run from there to take a 12-point lead The Bulls got two threes from Hedderson in the run as well as a three and then a conventional three-point play from Fortman to fuel the run. UB continued to build on its lead as two free throws from Bridgette Kendricks gave the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 49-30. The Bulls would lead by double figures for the rest of the game, keeping the Broncos under 40 points.
"I thought we rushed some shots in the first half and weren't always finding the best option, but we got better at that as the game wore on," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "They did a good job on Kourtney, which we knew they would, but we were confident in the rest of our team to step and they certainly did that today."
Fortman led the way with 19 points as she added seven rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. Hedderson had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. She shot 3-for-6 from behind the arc. Senior Kourtney Brown snapped a stretch of six straight double-doubles as she finished with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while adding two assists, five blocks and a steal. Zuber added five points, five rebounds, a game-high six assists and three steals.
Defensively, the Bulls held Western Michigan to just 39 points and just 21.9 percent from the floor. The Broncos also missed all 15 of their three-point attempts. The point total is the lowest UB has allowed since Youngstown State scored just 38 points against the Bulls on December 13, 2009.
Individually, the Bulls did a great job on WMU's leading scorer Taylor Manley as she finished with zero points, missing all 10 of her shots, including five from behind the arc. Ebony Cleary led the way with 16 points. Brenna Bankston had eight points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Bulls continue their three-game homestand this Saturday afternoon as they wrap up play against the MAC West with Northern Illinois. Saturday will be UB's annual Pink Zone game and National Girls and Women In Sports Day. The game will air live on SportsTime Ohio and will tip off at 12:00 pm.