AKRON, OH – The University at Buffalo women's basketball team was unable to overcome a 32-point second half deficit as it fell to Akron, 96-82, in the first round of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The loss ends UB's season at 9-22.
The Zips led wire-to-wire in the contest, shooting 62.5% in the first half, including hitting on 10-of-15 three pointers in the opening 20 minutes. The Zips put up 58 first half points, the most allowed by the Bulls this season, as they took a 58-33 lead into the half.
Akron got its lead up to 77-45 with 12:32 left in the game, but the Bulls had one last run in them, scoring 38 points over the final 12 and half minutes. UB went on a 12-2 run, which was capped off on two free throws from Nytor Longar to pull within 81-59. The Bulls then went on another 19-6 run over the next seven minutes as a Brittany Hedderson three-point play pulled the Bulls within 11. However, that is as close as they would get.
"In the first half we didn't get out to their shooters and they knocked down a lot of big shots against us," said head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald. "I thought in the second half we did a much better job of getting out to the shooters and we played our brand of basketball. I thought we outplayed them in the second half, but we dug ourselves into too much of a hole."
The Bulls were led by Hedderson, who finished with 31 points, her fourth 30-point performance of the season. She added four rebounds and three assists in her final collegiate game. Hedderson finished the season playing 1,169 minutes, the most ever by a UB player in one season. She also finished with 631 points this year, the second most in a single season. Her 596 field goal attempts shattered the school record by more than 100 shots.
The Bulls also got a solid game from Longar, who despite picking up three first half fouls, finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. She went 11-of-16 from the free throw line. The 11 free throws were just three shy of the single-game school record. Longar added two blocks and a steal. Freshman Christa Baccas added 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Nicki Hopkins added six points, while Ephesia Holmes and Teresa Semalulu each added four. Beth Christensen finished with two points and four rebounds.
Akron, who advances to the MAC Tournament Second Round, had five players in double figures led by 21 points from Sina King. Taylor Ruper added 20 points, including 6-for-8 from three point range.
The Bulls graduate four players from the 2011-12 team.