BUFFALO, NY – For the second straight game, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team overcame a halftime deficit, outscoring Ohio, 42-34 in the second half, en route to a 61-56 win on Saturday afternoon. The victory concluded the home portion of UB's schedule as its honored its four seniors prior to the game.
Both teams struggled in the first half as the Bulls turned the ball over 12 times in the opening 20 minutes. However, strong defense allowed Buffalo to head into the break, down just 22-19.
The Bulls cut the Ohio lead to 26-25 early in the second half, but Ohio responded with a 7-0 run, taking its largest lead at 33-25. However, back-to-back layups from freshman Christa Baccas fueled a 9-1 run, tying the game up at 34-34. The Bulls were down 36-34 when senior Brittany Hedderson drove to the basket and converted on a three-point play, giving the Bulls the lead for good.
The Bulls got their lead up to as many as eight on a pair of free throws from Baccas with 2:25 left, but Ohio made one last run to try and get back into the game. The Bobcats cut it down to two with 45 seconds left, but senior Ephesia Holmes stepped to the line and knocked down a pair to give the Bulls a four-point lead. Ohio responded as Mariah Byard hit a long three pointer with 14 seconds left, pulling Ohio within one. The Bobcats put the Bulls back on the line and this time it was Baccas knocking down a pair as UB went back up by three. Senior Beth Christensen then got a steal on the final Ohio possession and was fouled as she knocked down a pair of free throws as well.
"I don't think you could have scripted Senior Day any better," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "All four of them made significant contributions and are a big reason why we won today. I am proud of our effort in the second half and really pleased with the way we shot our free throws late in the game."
Hedderson finished with 18 points, moving into fourth place on the all-time scoring list, surpassing Heather Turner. Hedderson added four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Playing just four days after spraining her ankle against Kent State, Semalulu had 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and five steals.
Holmes added seven points and two assists, while Christensen finished with four points and a game-high 10 rebounds. She also added three blocks and a steal. The three blocks give her 115 for her career, moving her past Jessica Fortman for fourth on the all-time record list.
The Bulls will hit the road on Tuesday night as they wrap up the regular season at Akron. Tip off is set for 7:00 pm.