Buffalo’s Run Comes to an End in MAC Quarterfinal
CLEVELAND, OH – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team saw its season come to an end on Wednesday afternoon as the Bulls fell in the Quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament to Central Michigan, 90-69, at the Quicken Loans Arena. The loss ends UB's season at 16-15, its best finish since 2002-03.
The loss brings an end to the careers of UB's four-member senior class, which was capped off today by Ashley Zuber setting the single-season assists record with her team-high seven assists, giving her 190 for the season. The loss also brings to an end the career of MAC Player of the Year Kourtney Brown, who finishes with 1,974 points and 1,119 rebounds. She ended the season with 367 rebounds, the most in Mid-American Conference history.
Early on it looked as if the Bulls would be able to hang with the third-seeded Chippewas, but Central Michigan shot 44.9 percent for the game, including 48.0 percent from three-point range. Central Michigan scored the first five points before the Bulls responded with a 7-0 run, capped off on a three by Zuber with 15:05 left. A three by Kristen Sharkey at the 12:14 mark gave UB a six-point advantage, its largest of the game. With the Bulls up 16-10, Central Michigan went on a 17-3 run as its three-point shooting started to heat up. CMU ended the half on a 17-7 run over the final four minutes to take a 47-31 lead into the half.
The Bulls did a better job holding onto the ball, turning it over just four times in the second half, but were unable to overcome Central Michigan's offense which shot over 53 percent in the second half. UB cut the deficit to 11 early in the second half on a layup from Bridgette Kendricks with 16:07 left, but the Chippewas went on a 22-8 run to take its largest lead of the game at 25 with 8:26 to go. CMU would lead by at least 20 for the rest of the way.
"I feel bad for this senior class that this is the way our season ended," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "They have provided so much to this team and they will be dearly missed. We ran into a hot-shooting offense today and we were unable to hang with them. I am very proud of this team and what they accomplished this year."
The Bulls were led by Brown, who ended with 24 points and 15 rebounds, only fitting that she goes out with a double-double. Brown also had three assists, two blocks and three steals. Zuber finished with 13 points, seven assists and four rebounds. UB's other two seniors Jessica Fortman and Bridgette Kendricks combined for 17 rebounds. Kendricks had eight points, nine rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. Fortman had five points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Brittany Hedderson had eight points, while sophomore Nicki Hopkins contributed six points off the bench.
The Chippewas were led by a career game from Shonda Long, who had 40 points. Niki DiGuilio had 19 points and Kaihla Szunko finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. CMU will face Bowling Green in Friday's MAC Semifinal.