BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team won its 2011-12 home opener on Saturday evening, defeating Bucknell, 63-57. The win is UB's third straight over the Bison as it improves its record to 2-1 on the year.
Bucknell had its only lead of the game 53 seconds in when it recorded the first points of the contest. However, with the game tied at 4-4 the Bulls went on a 7-0 run, capped off on a jumper from senior Brittany Hedderson. Two free throws from fellow senior Beth Christensen gave UB it first double-digit lead with 5:58 remaining in the first half. The Bulls would go on to lead by as many as 14 in the opening half following a three pointer from Hedderson.
Bucknell cut into the Buffalo lead as a three pointer from Amy Zehner at the 13:05 mark pulled the Bison within six. The Bulls answered though and regained the 14-point advantage on a pair of free throws from Nytor Longar with 10:10 remaining the second half. The Bison again looked to cut into the Buffalo lead, getting it to within four at the 5:04 mark. They would pull as close as two on a layup with 3:15 left, but the Bulls responded with three straight points from Hedderson. Bucknell would get it to within three again with 50 seconds left, but Longar hit an easy layup to extend the lead as the Bulls took the six-point decision.
"It was nice to be able to get a win tonight in front of the home crowd," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "I thought we did a much better job taking care of the basketball today than we did in our last game. We still need to work on running our offense a little smoother and we need to box out better under the glass."
Hedderson led the way for the Bulls with 18 points, also adding a game-high four assists. Longar finished with a career-high 15 points, adding eight rebounds and two steals. Longar shot outstanding from the free throw line, hitting seven of her nine attempts.
Ephesia Holmes finished with seven points and three rebounds, while Christensen and freshman Christa Baccas each finished with six. Baccas added four rebounds, setting career highs in both categories. Sophomore Margeaux Gupilan added five points and a career-best four rebounds. Senior Teresa Semalulu had four points, six rebounds and three assists.
As a team, the Bulls went 23-of-27 from the free throw line, including perfect 4-for-4 nights from Christensen and Baccas. Holmes went 5-of-6, while Hedderson went 3-of-4.
Bucknell (1-3) was led by 20 points from Zehner and 11 points from Shelby Romine. Lindsay Horbatuck had six points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Bulls will now be on the road for their next four games starting on Tuesday night at Syracuse. Tip off is set for 7:00 pm.