Buffalo Women at Miami Wednesday at 7:00

ESPN+ With Bake and Carol Smith. Women in Sports Day celebration. This is a chance to see the 3rd or 4th ( UB says 3rd, MU says 4th) leading scorer in the nation. A couple of weeks ago she scored 37 in a home win over BG and 46 in a loss at Toledo ( and Toledo’s guards are great on defense and 1st team all MAC players). Her name is Chellia Watkins and she is listed as a 5th year 5-8 SR, In 2019-20 she played for UC. She did not play the next year. In 2021-22 she averaged 15.7 for South Carolina Upstate. Once again she did not play last year. So this is her 5th year but only her third season of actually playing. She take an amazing 36.7% of her teams shots, and also leads the team in rebounds and assists. She averages 21 shots per game. She has been the MAC POTW the last two weeks and 4 times this season.

Just as last year, Coach Becky Burke relies on her 5 starters and gives just a few minutes to a couple of girls off the bench. Buffalo is12-8 (6-4) and on a two game winning streak and is in 4th place in the MAC. The other usual starters are 5-10 FR Kirsten Williams-Lewis 12/6, 6-0 FR Alexis Davis 7.6/5.6, 6-2 SOPH Hattie Ogden 7.8/4.9 she is used as a 3 point shooter when Watson gets double teamed, 5-3 SR Rana Elhusseini 8.7/4.9/ shoots a lot of 3’s.

Buffalo had a long winning streak vs us, but we won a late season game up there last season. Something else I might mention about UB. Daisha Fair was just as good/better as Watson, easily the best player in the MAC, but when Coach Felicia- Legett Jack took the Syracuse job, she took Fair with her, also Georgia Woolley, who had been the MAC FOY. Those two start for Syracuse and they have been ranked in the top 20 all year. Fair has continued her remarkable career, scoring her 3,000th career point earlier this season. She is now #6 on the all time list:

  1. Plum Washington 3527
  2. Clark Iowa 3462
  3. Mitchell Ohio State 3402
  4. Stiles Missouri State 3393
  5. Griner Baylor 3283
  6. Fair Buffalo/Syracuse 3167

We wlll see what Coach Box and his staff can come up with to slow down Watkins. Amber Tretter has had 3 straight double doubles and has become our star late in her freshman season. A very hard worker according to the staff and a very smart player and a vocal leader from what I have seen. We still need Jayden Scott to start shooting the ball like she did for most of the season, hope we can continue what we showed Saturday vs Akron.

It was 4-2 Miami at the 5 minute mark of the first. We were on track for a 16-8 final score.

11-7 Buffalo at the end of one. Miami is ice cold - 2 for 16 from the field.

24-15 Bulls at halftime.

32-30 Bulls end of three. First team to 40 maybe?

49-43 Bulls Final - “an Ugly game” per Steve Baker.

As a former basketball coach, I thought it was a game played at a pretty high level defensively. Both teams had excellent scouting reports and did a very good job of slowing down the other teams best players. The first quarter there were a bunch of missed inside shots, but not so much the rest of the games. Both teams had very few minutes played by their bench. Much like our loss to CMU last week, it came down to Buffalo hitting 4 open 3’s in the last 6 minutes from two girls who had not hit a 3 the whole game, but if you read my preview you would see I mentioned them as 3 point shooters they would look for when we doubled inside.

27.8% from the field, 20% from 3 and 67% at the FT line is a sure fire recipe for failure. Our defense did keep it from becoming the blowout it looked like it was going to be at the end of the first period. And no one fouled out. Those are the only positives I took away from this one.

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I just listened to Coach Box and his post game comments and he agreed with what I said, he felt we played one of our best games of the year. We played very hard and executed very well on defense and in the second half on offense, but missed too many open 3’s. Buffalo is a talented and well coached, well prepared team.

Looking at the stats for the first time, Amber Tretter, who was boxed out by multiple players on every offensive rebounding attempt, did manage to keep her double double streak going with 10 points and 11 rebounds. We held Watson to 19 points, about half of which came on fast breaks, on 6 out of 19 shooting. More so than any game we have been involved in all year, both teams got nothing from their seldom used bench. Both teams starters played over 170 of the 200 minutes and UB got 4 points and Miami zero points off the bench. Also, Buffalo was I think 0 for 8 on threes, then hit 4 straight tough ones in the last 6 minutes, while we missed some open ones.