The Buffalo Women’s Basketball team has won the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship, taking down Ohio in the championship game Saturday, March 16 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Bulls will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history, after reaching the Sweet Sixteen last season.
The quarter finals got going on Wednesday, March 13 when Eastern Michigan faced top-seeded Central Michigan. The Eagles led for most of the fourth quarter but Presley Hudson connected on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime. In the extra session, the Chippewas would advance, winning 88-80.
“This game really falls on me,” Eagles head coach Fred Castro said. “I should have continued fouling down the stretch towards the end and we didn’t. We had a defensive play call that we wanted to execute, we didn't execute it, but we should have just kept it simple and that completely falls on me.”
MAC Player of the Year, Reyna Frost had 28 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Hudson also had 28 points. Jenna Annecchiarico led EMU with 21 points. In the other quarter finals, Buffalo blew out Kent State, Ohio defeated Northern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) eliminated Toledo. Cierra Dillard led Buffalo with 22 points and four assists in the 85-52 win.
After a day off, the semifinals began Friday afternoon. The game of the day was certainly Buffalo’s upset over Central Michigan, 82-77, behind Dillard’s 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Frost had 21 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. The Chippewas’ coach, Sue Guevara, was frustrated post game with the amount of fouls called against her team.
“I'll tell you what, you give Buffalo all the credit in the world,” Guevara said. “They know how to shoot free throws. When one player takes more free throws than my entire team, she knows how to make free throws. I thought, you know, again, how many times did Dillard go to the line in the fourth quarter?”
Dillard was 11-12 from the free throw line. Central Michigan as a team was 7-9.
In the other semifinal, Ohio ran Miami (Ohio) off the court in a resounding 74-48 victory.
On Saturday morning, the Bulls and Bobcats tipped off with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line. After jumping out to a 23-14 lead after the first quarter, Buffalo never let up. They had a double-digit lead for most of the second half and rode that to a 77-61 win to take their second ever MAC Tournament title and first since 2016.
“We just paid attention to detail, had each other’s back, had our sister’s back, paid attention to the game plan,” Dillard said. “We knew certain people were drivers, we knew certain people were shooters. And we talked. The biggest thing a lot of people don’t focus on is talking.”
She had a team-high 22 points in the win and was named MAC Tournament MVP following the title game. Hanna Hall had a career-high five 3-pointers in the win, while Summer Hemphill compiled 16 points and a tournament record of 21 rebounds.