Bulls End Regular Season With 77-60 Setback Against Akron
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo women's basketball team was outscored 45-24 in the first half on Wednesday night and lost its regular season finale to Akron, 77-60, at Alumni Arena. The Bulls finished conference play with an 8-8 record, good enough for the #7 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. Buffalo has secured a first round home game, which it will play Saturday afternoon against #10 Northern Illinois at 2:00 pm.
The Zips led wire-to-wire as they forced the Bulls into three early turnovers and scored the first eight points of the contest. Akron got its lead up to 24-6 early when Buffalo went on a 16-9 run, capped off on a three pointer from senior Nicki Hopkins with 5:17 left in the opening half. Buffalo continued to trail by just 11 with 3:49 left when Akron closed the half on a 10-0 run.
Akron extended its lead to 28 with 14:30 left in regulation when the Bulls tried to creep back into the contest. The Bulls went on a 13-3 run to pull within 58-40 following a three from sophomore Sloane Walton, but the Zips again built a 22-point advantage. A quick 8-3 run to end the game put Buffalo down 17, which was the final margin of defeat for the Bulls.
"We have to play better than that. We've come too far to perform like we did tonight," said head coach Felisha Legette-Jack. "Akron is a very good basketball team, however we didn't let them beat us, we helped them beat us and we've come too far to accept that."
Freshman Mackenzie Loesing led Buffalo with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. She added three rebounds and four steals. She paced three UB players in double figures as redshirt junior Cherridy Thornton had 15 points and three assists and Kristen Sharkey added 11 points and two blocks.
Walton finished with eight points and a career-high six rebounds, while Christa Baccas had four points, seven rebounds, a block and three steals.
Akron, which claimed the MAC East Division crown, finishes the regular season 21-8 and 12-4 in the MAC. The Zips were led by 24 points from Hanna Luburgh, who added nine rebounds. Sina King finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Rachel Tecca had 17 points.
The Bulls will be hosting a first-round playoff game for just the second time in the last seven years. The winner of the UB-NIU game will play the winner of Miami-Ohio on Wednesday afternoon in Cleveland, OH.