BUFFALO, NY - Despite not allowing a field goal for nine minutes in the second half, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team was unable to pull of the comeback on Tuesday afternoon, falling to Youngstown State in its home opener, 60-50. The Bulls were able to cut into an 18-point second half deficit, but ultimately fell to 0-2 on the year.
The Bulls got off to a quick start in the game going on a 9-3 run over the first three minutes, capped off on a steal and fast break layup from sophomore Christa Baccas. The Penguins answered with a 9-2 run though and led for the remainder of the game. Youngstown State shot nearly 42 percent from the field in the opening half as it opened up a 13-point lead with just over a minute left. The Bulls were able to pull within 10 at the half thanks to Baccas, who converted on a three-point play.
The Penguins led by as many as 18 following a pair of free throws from Brandi Brown with 8:47 left and that is when the Bulls turned up the defensive pressure. UB used its defense to spark a 15-3 run, getting the final five points from freshman Rachael Gregory, who hit a three pointer, followed by a fast break layup off a steal from sophomore Kasheema Besley. The Bulls were unable to get any closer with Youngstown State hitting five of six free throws down the stretch.
"It was a tail of two halves for us today," said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "Offensively we started off okay, but we never got it going defensively and they took advantage of our miscues. I thought in the second half we did a much better job communicating and that got us back into the game."
Gregory, who is the only player to have started each of the first two games, led the way with 17 points. Gregory, who was in foul trouble for most of the game only played 24 minutes. Baccas added nine points, 12 rebounds, three assists, four blocks and three steals in 34 minutes. Besley, starting for the first time in her career, dished out a career-best six assists, while adding two points, three rebounds and two steals.
Redshirt sophomore Kristen Sharkey, coming of her first career double-double, finished with four points and six rebounds in her first collegiate start. Junior Nytor Longar added six points and six rebounds off the bench, while freshmen Mackenzie Loesing and Karin Moss added five and four points, respectively. Senior Nicki Hopkins played 14 minutes, recording two rebounds and an assist.
Youngstown State had three players in double figures led by 24 points and 15 rebounds from Brown. Shar'Rae Davis finished with 14 points and four assists and Liz Hornberger had 12 points.
The Bulls will now begin a stretch of four straight games away from Alumni Arena this Friday night at Oakland. Tip off is set for 6:30 pm.