Courtesy of UBBulls.com
YPSILANTI, MI – The University at Buffalo women’s basketball team defeated Eastern Michigan 91-84 in overtime Wednesday night behind a record setting performance by senior Cierra Dillard. The Bulls are now 9-4 on the year and 1-1 in MAC play.
Dillard set a school record with 43 points, besting the previous mark of 39 by Brittany Hedderson in 2011, while also pulling down five rebounds and dishing out five assists on the night.
“I asked these young ladies to remind me why I recruited them, why they do what they do and the reason behind it,” head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. “Summer was sick, she has the flu and she played through it. Marissa came in in the last minute and did what she did, Hanna what she’s done, 20 points to tie the game up. And then there’s a Cierra Dillard who had a quiet 43 points in my opinion. She defended better, she talked better, her IQ took over.”
It was a back-and-forth affair early on with the teams trading baskets early in the first quarter before the Bulls took a four point lead as Dillard found Theresa Onwuka for layup at the buzzer to put UB up 15-11.
The second quarter saw more of the same with the two teams answering on both ends. Buffalo started hot going 4-8 from the field to start the quarter on buckets from Dillard, Brittany Morrison, Finess Dickson and Hanna Hall and despite key buckets from Danielle Minott and Natalia Pineda, the Bulls maintained a five point lead for most of the quarter and took a 32-29 lead into the break.
After failing to break the 20 point barrier against Ohio, Dillard exploded for 20 points in the third quarter alone, connecting on 6-11 shots from the floor, 1-3 from beyond the arc and 5-7 from the charity stripe. The Bulls would need that effort and more as Minott and the Eagles came alive offensively as well, shooting 12-18 from the field, 2-4 from three point range to take a 58-53 lead.
But the Buffalo sharpshooters would not be stopped. Onwuka drained a three to cut the EMU lead to one early in the fourth quarter and then Hall drilled back-to-back triples to put the Bulls back up by five. Later, with the Bulls down three, Hall came up big again, draining her career-high fifth three-pointer to tie the game 76-76. One last heave by Dillard at the buzzer was off the mark and UB headed to overtime for the second straight game.
Overtime belonged to Buffalo as EMU led only once and the Bulls outscored the Eagles 15-8 to secure the road victory.
Hall finished with a career-high 20 points on 6-9 shooting, including a career-best five three pointers. Onwuka also got into double figures with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Dillard and Minott tied the Convocation Center record for points (43), and the 175 combined points are the fourth-most in Convo history and most since 2014. Additionally, the 43 point effort ties for seventh-most by a NCAA Division 1 player this season.
Buffalo shot 46.9 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from beyond the arc and went 22-35 (62.9 percent) from the free throw line while outrebounding the Eagles 41-38.
The Bulls will wrap up their two-game road trip at Miami (OH) on Saturday at 2 p.m.