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UB women's hoops heads west for big test against #3 Oregon on Sunday

UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO ATHLETICS

Buffalo (2-0) at #3 Oregon (3-0)
November 18, 2018

Matthew Knight Arena
 - 5:00 pm ET
BULLS ON THE AIR
TV - PAC-12 live stream - Terry Jonz (PxP) 
Radio
 - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App - Matt Mattia (PxP) 
TODAY'S STORYLINES
• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team will look for their fourth straight 3-0 start on Sunday night as they head to Eugene, OR to take on #3 Oregon at 5:00pm.
• Buffalo put together their most impressive game of the season on Wednesday night as they handed the Niagara Purple Eagles a 88-61 loss. Prior to the game on Wednesday, UB unveiled a Sweet 16 banner in the rafters of Alumni Arena.
• For the first time in school history, the Bulls received votes in the AP Top-25 Poll and the USA Today Coaches Top-25 Poll in consecutive weeks. UB closed out the 2017-18 season ranked No. 21 in the country in the final AP poll.
• Senior shooting guard Cierra Dillard was named to the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch list on Monday, awarded to the National Player of the Year. She was the only mid-major player on the list. The senior is averaging 24.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game so far this season.
• Buffalo was picked as the preseason favorite to win the MAC East by the MAC coaches and Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill earned a spot on the All-MAC East preseason squad. Dillard was also tabbed as the Big 4 Player of the Year while Hemphill earned a spot on the All-Big 4 first team and Autumn Jones earned a spot on the All-Big 4 second team.
GAME 2 RECAP: NIAGARA
• The University at Buffalo women's basketball team had an impressive home opener on Wednesday night as they were able to use a high-powered second half attack to down Big 4 foe Niagara, 88-61.
• On a special night inside Alumni Arena that saw the Bulls honor their historic 2017-18 campaign and team with the unveiling of a Sweet 16 banner, the youthful Bulls impressed the home fans with their energy and passion.
• Senior captain Cierra Dillard was the catalyst for the Bulls as she netted 17 of her 25 points in the third quarter to propel UB to their second straight win to open the season for the fourth straight season. Dillard finished the game going 9-for-17 for 25 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists across 32 minutes.
• The Bulls were effecient from the floor as a team as they shot a season-high 53.0% while outscoring the Purple Eagles 16-0 in the fast break category.

PREVIEWING #3 OREGON
• The #3 Oregon Ducks enter Sunday afternoons game against the Bulls with a 3-0 record as they have claimed victories over Alaska Fairbanks, #18 Syracuse and Utah State within an eight day span to open the season.
• The high octane Ducks offensive attack is averaging 92.7 points/game while connecting on 53.1% of shots overall and 39.5% of shots behind the three-point arc. They are also averaging 20.0 assists/game while outscoring their opponents by an average of 37.0 points/game.
• Oregon is led by junior Sabrina Ionescu who earned AP Preseason All-American honors after a great sophomore campaign last season. Ionescu leads the Ducks in nearly every statistical category this season as she is averaging 19.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists while shooting 57.1% from the floor and 63.2% from behind the arc.
• Ionescu opened the season with her 11th career triple-double as she finished with 18 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in the win over Alaska Fairbanks. The 11 career triple-doubles are the most in NCAA history as she broke the old NCAA record of seven in just her 44th game of her career.
• As a team, the Ducks rank fourth in the NCAA in protecting the ball as they are averaging just 9.7 turnovers/contest while earning a 3-0 start to the season.

OH HOW SWEET IT WAS
• The Bulls put together their best season in program history last season as they were able to notch their first-ever NCAA Tournament game victories, downing #6 South Florida and #3 Florida State.
• Buffalo and Central Michigan became just the second and third MAC schools in conference history to earn a spot in the Sweet 16.
• With their 21-point victory over #3 Florida State, the Bulls became the first double digit seed to win a second round NCAA Tournament game by 20+ points in tournament history.
• The Bulls were also the first double-digit seed in NCAA Tournament history to score 100+ points when they defeated No. 6 South Florida by the score of 102-79.
• During their magical NCAA Tournament run, the Buffalo offense averaged 83.7 points/game while connecting on 44.9% of their shots and hitting 26 three-pointers.

BULLS IN THE POLLS
• After becoming the cinderella story of the 2018 NCAA Tournament and finishing the season ranked No. 21 in the nation, the national media rewarded the Bulls with three votes in the 2018-19 preseason AP poll and three votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
• This marks the first time in school history that the Bulls earned AP poll votes and USA Today Coaches poll votes in consecutive weeks to open the season.
• The Bulls earned their AP votes from ESPN Analyst and former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo who pegged the Bulls as No. 24 in the nation, and  Carl Adamec from the Journal Inquirer who tabbed UB as No. 25.
• Rebecca Lobo is familiar with the Bulls and head coach Felisha Legette-Jack as she was the analyst for the Bulls Sweet 16 matchup with South Carolina last season in Albany, NY.

PRESEASON PRAISE
• For the second straight season, the UB women's basketball team was pegged as the preseason favorite to win the MAC East by the conference coaches.
• Buffalo earned 62 total points and four first-place votes, just edging out Miami (OH) who notched 61 total points and five first-place votes.
• The defending MAC East champions also earned three votes to win the MAC Tournament Championship, trailing only last season's MAC champion Central Michigan who earned eight votes.
• The Bulls also placed two players, Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill, on the preseason All-MAC East squad.
• Buffalo also placed Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill on the First Team All-Big 4 while senior Autumn Jones earned a spot on the Second Team All-Big 4.

HONORS KEEP ROLLING IN FOR DILLARD
• Senior Cierra Dillard was named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List on Monday afternoon.
• She is one of 50 players on the list and the only mid-major player to earn a spot on the prestigious list.
• Dillard also becomes the first UB player in school history to be named to the prestigious preseason Watch List.
• She was also selected by local media and athletic communication offices as the Preseason Big 4 Player of the Year.
• Dillard was also one of three unanimous First Team All-Big 4 respresentatives.

DILLY DILLY
• Senior Cierra Dillard is in her final season in a Buffalo uniform and the ultra-talented guard has accumulated 1,397 career points across her stops with UMass and the Bulls. She finished off her first season in a UB jersey leading the squad with 566 points which ranked fourth in school history for points in a single season.
• So far this season, Dillard has been nothing short of great for the Bulls as she has produced back-to-back 20+ point efforts in a pair of Buffalo wins.
• The senior captain has led the Bulls in scoring in both games this season and for the year she is averaging 24.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals while connecting on 48.1% of her shots including 41.7% from three-point range.
• Dating back to last season, Dillard has produced six straight 20+ point games and is averaging 26.8 points/game over that span.
• The Rochester, NY native earned preseason praise by the MAC coaches as she was selected for the All-MAC East team for the first time in her Buffalo career.
• She returns to the Bulls this season as one of two returning players in the NCAA to average at least 16.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game a season ago.
• Dillard finished off her junior season averaging a team-high 16.2 points, 5.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.0 steals while starting all 35 games and playing an average of 31.5 minutes/game.
• During her dynamic run in the NCAA Tournament, the ultra competitive guard averaged 29.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals while shooting 49.1% from the floor and 37.5% from behind the arc.
• Across her career, Dillard has produced at least one steal in 35 of 37 games and recorded multiple steals in 29 games. She also set a career-high with seven thefts in a win over Toledo (1/20/18) last season.
• The crafty passer has recorded at least one assist in each of her 37 career games while recording 5+ helpers 21 times a season ago. She also led the team in assists 16 times during her UB career.
• Dillard has led the Bulls in scoring 21 times since joining the program while going over the 20-point plateau a team-high 13 times. The Bulls owned a 11-2 record when Dillard scores 20+ points.

WILKINS CONTINUES STRONG PLAY
• Senior sharpshooter Courtney Wilkins will be relied on heavily this season to step up and score the ball on a more consistent basis and she definitely has embraced that role through two games this season.
• Earning her second straight start, Wilkins was a difference maker for the Bulls as she was able to net 13 points with a career-high seven rebounds across 27 minutes of work. The efficient Wilkins finished the game going 5-for-9 from the floor while hitting one triple.
• Wilkins showed flashes of being an impact performer near the end of last season as she went off for a career-high 23 points off the bench in the Bulls First Round NCAA Tournament victory over #6 South Florida. Wilkins finished the game going 7-for-10 from the field and 5-for-8 from behind the three-point line in the win.

ONWUKA TURNING HEADS IN STARTING ROLE
• Junior wing Theresa Onwuka has been a strong bench player for the Bulls across her first two seasons with the squad but she has been asked to serve as a starter this season and is really embracing her new role.
• The Nigeria native earned an invite to the Nigerian national camp over the summer as she practiced and trained with the top basketball players from her home country. The experience helped Onwuka grow as a player and helped build her confidence.
• Onwuka is enjoying a strong start to her junior season as she ranks third on the team averaging 9.0 points, 2.0 steals and 1.5 rebounds while going 7-for-8 (87.5%) from the floor on the season.

MORRISON OWNING THE BLOCK FOR THE BULLS
• Senior power forward Brittany Morrison has been relied on heavily early on this season as she is filling in for the void left by the graduation of Cassie Oursler.
• The North Ridgeville, OH native has stepped up and earned the right to big minutes down low for the Bulls as she continues to grow into a leader for a young frontcourt for UB.
• So far this season, Morrison is averaging 8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 54.5% from the floor and grabbing a team-high five offensive rebounds.
• Last time out, Morrison earned the start at center for the Bulls and produced nine points, six rebounds and three assists across 21 minutes of action in the win over Niagara.

TAKING OVER THE REIGNS AT POINT GUARD
• With the departure of the Bulls all-time leader in assists, Stephanie Reid, UB will be searching for a replacement at the point guard spot and they might not have to look any further than sophomore Hanna Hall.
• Hall returns for her second year with the Bulls and looks poised to take over the starting duties after earning the start in each of the Bulls' two victories this season.
• The Hamilton, ON native is averaging 19.5 minutes, 3.5 points, 3.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game so far this season while starting both games at the point for UB.
• Last time out, Hall had her strongest effort defensively of the season while also filling the statsheet. The sophomore finished off the win over Niagara with four points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals across 21 minutes of work while forcing the Purple Eagles point guard to commit six turnovers in the game as she played great defense on the dangerous guard.
• Hall gained knowledge and experience last season sitting behind Reid as she appeared in 24 games and started two. She averaged just 1.9 points and 1.2 assists per game but her confidence andf presence on the court grew as the season moved on.

BABY BULLS MAKE IMPACT IN HOME OPENER
• After graduating five players including three starters from last seasons Sweet 16 squad, the Bulls will be relying heavily on a seven-player recruiting class this season.
• The highly-touted recruiting class includes four post players and three guards with three players coming from across the border in Canada.
• Freshman Keowa Walters made the most of her playing time on Wednesday night against Niagara as she came off the bench and posted six points and four rebounds across just five minutes of action while going 3-for-5 from the floor.
• Adebola Adeyeye had an impact off the UB bench against Niagara as she finished off the win with four points, two offensive rebounds and two steals across a career-high nine minutes.
• The other four UB freshman, Finess DicksonAireal DicksonOceane Kounkou and Alexis Adams each played for Buffalo on Wednesday as they continue to learn valuable lessons and grow into collegiate players.

80 PLUS
• The Bulls have always been known for their defense but last season the UB offense began to take over some of the recognition that led the Bulls to a historic season.
• Last time out, the Buffalo offense came alive in the second half against Niagara and they finished off the game with a season-high 88 points, including 51 in the second half.
• The Bulls are tough to beat when they scored 80+ points as they own a 16-2 record dating back to last season when doing so.
• Buffalo closed out last season averaging 78.4 points/game which ranked third in the MAC and 24th in the NCAA.
• The potent UB attack was able to set a program record with 18 games going over 80 points scored including 12 such games across their final 18 games of the season.
• Overall, Buffalo scored 70+ points in 28 of their 35 games including doing so in 19 of their 21 games against MAC opponents.
• The 102 points scored by the Bulls in their First Round NCAA Tournament victory over #6 South Florida were the most points scored in a single game for the Bulls since December 21, 1995 when they notched 103 points against Wofford.

ANOTHER 20+ WIN SEASON
• The wins continue to pile up for the Bulls under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack as they produced their third straight 20+ win campaign last season, setting a school record with 29 victories. The Bulls surpassed the previous school record of 23 wins which was set in 1996.
• This marks the second time in school history the Bulls have won 20+ games in three straight seasons dating back to their first three seasons in Division I (1994-97).
• The 29 victories for the Bulls last season are the third most in MAC history behind Bowling Green in 2007 (31) and in 2014 (30).
• The Bulls also were able to go undefeated at home (12-0) while also tying the school record with 10 road victories and six neutral site wins.
• Buffalo posted 21 victories a season ago by double-digits including each of their final nine wins of the season. They also posted 14 victories by 20+ points including a season-high 38 point victory, 80-42, over Kent State on  February 7, 2018.
• UB also dominated MAC opponents a season ago as they defeated conference opponents by an average of 16.6 points while advancing to the MAC Championship game.

TURNING THEM OVER
• Ever since taking over the program seven seasons ago, head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has prided herself on having a team committed to defense and that is no different this season.
• The Buffalo defense has been great early on this season in causing turnovers from their opponents as they are forcing an average of 26.0 turnovers/game across a pair of wins.
• As a team, Buffalo leads the MAC and ranks 18th in the NCAA forcing turnovers so far this season.
• The Bulls are also averaging 12.5 steals/game so far this season while netting an average of 22.0 points/game off of opponents turnovers.
• Last time out, UB forced Niagara to turn the ball over a season-high 29 times as they cruised to a 88-61 victory.

RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
• The Bulls turned into one of the best teams in the open court last season as they were able to outscore their opponents 399-123 in the fast break scoring category.
• UB has continued their strong play in the open court as they have outscored their opponents 18-4 so far this season in a pair of wins.
• Last time out, Buffalo won the fast break category 16-0 over Niagara as they have now held 10 opponents to no fast break points scored in a game over the past two seasons.
• Last season, the Bulls won the fast break scoring category in 30 of their 35 games and finished the season winning the category in 18 of their last 19 games of the season.
• The Bulls scored in double figures in the fast break category 20 times last season.
• Over the past three seasons, the Bulls have won or tied the fast break category in 60 of their 68 games including in 49 of their 53 wins.

SHOOTING FOR THE STARS  
• One of the keys to success for the Bulls over the past couple of seasons under head coach Felisha Legette-Jack has been shooting a better percentage from the floor than their opponents.
• Last time out, the Bulls had their best shooting performance of the young season as they went 35-for-66 (53.0%) and went 60% from inside the three-point arc.
• Over the past two seasons, Buffalo is 26-0 when shooting a higher percentage from the floor than their opponent and are 59-2 across the past four seasons when doing so.
• When the Bulls shot a lower percentage of the floor last season they held a losing record of 5-6 in those games.

TRIO OF CAPTAINS NAMED FOR 2018-19 SEASON
• After the graudation of the winningest class in the Bulls division I history, Buffalo will be relying on a new group of captains to lead the squad this season.
• After a team vote, the Bulls named Courtney WilkinsCierra Dillard and Ayoleka Sodade as team captains.
• The trio of seniors have been a part of three straight 20+ win seasons.

WINNING PEDIGREE
• Seniors Ayoleka Sodade and Brittany Morrison have made a major impact on the Buffalo program since they arrived in 2015 as they have combined for 73 wins over their career's including two NCAA Tournament appearances and advancing to the MAC semifinals in each of the past three seasons.
• Redshirt senior Courtney WIlkins has been around for the most wins on the roster as she has seen 92 Buffalo victories since joining the Bulls prior to the 2014-15 campaign.
advancing to the MAC semifinals in each of the past three seasons.