BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team used a total team effort to send its seniors out in style on Saturday afternoon, defeating Ohio, 70-65. The Bulls had five players in double figures as several individuals shattered career statistics on the day. The win also improves UB's record to 15-13 on the season and 8-7 in the MAC with one regular season game remaining.
The Bulls stormed out to an early 16-4 lead thanks to the play of senior Bridgette Kendricks and sophomore Nicki Hopkins. The duo combined for 16 of the first 18 points for the Bulls, nine coming off three made three pointers from Hopkins, who set a career high in scoring with 17. The Bulls may have led early in the first half, but it was Ohio who led late as the Bobcats went on a 27-8 run over the final 10 minutes of the half, taking a 35-26 lead into the half.
The Bulls didn't panic and their senior leadership was never more evident as it was in the second half, as the foursome helped lead the Bulls to their first second half comeback of the season. UB began the second half on a 15-2 run as Kourtney Brown got going, scoring all 15 of her points after the break. The Bulls built their lead up to 11 in the second as Brown converted on a three point play with 7:32 left off a nice feed from Jessica Fortman. The Bobcats began to make another charge late in the second half hitting a couple of three pointers to stay within reach. The Bulls were up seven with 52 seconds left, but the Bobcats hit back-to-back three pointers to pull with one with 25 seconds left. The Bulls put the ball in Ashley Zuber's hands and she was fouled, hitting both free throws to give UB a three-point advantage. Buffalo would hit two more free throws in the final 17 seconds for the final margin of victory.
"I am so proud of this entire team and just really happy for our senior class to be able to come away with this win today," said Linda Hill-MacDonald. "We know we still have one regular season game left and we look forward to fine tuning some things before the MAC Tournament."
Hopkins led the way with a career-high 17 points, shooting 5-of-11 from behind the arc. The five threes tie a career high for the sophomore. Brown finished with 15 points, all in the second half, and a career-high nine blocked shots, which ties the school record. The nine blocks are tied for ninth in the nation in a single game and pulls her within one of the Mid-American Conference record for career blocks.
The Bulls had two players with 11 points, including Kendricks, who also finished with a career-best 12 rebounds. Kendricks also added three assists and three steals. Fortman also finished with 11 points as she had six rebounds, seven assists, a block and a steal. The seven assists are a season-high and the blocked shot, puts her in fifth place in school history for blocks. Zuber also had an impressive stat line with 10 points, a career-high eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Bobcats had four players in double figures led by 23 points from Tenishia Benson. Shavon Robinson had 12 points, while Ashley Fowler and Erin Bailes each finished with 10.
The Bulls hit the road for their regular season finale on Wednesday as they head to Bowling Green for a 7:00 pm start. UB will have a first round home game in the Mid-American Conference Tournament next Saturday night at 7:00 pm as well.