There were plenty of chances to earn the win.
And that's what becomes so frustrating for Linda Hill-MacDonald.
Her University at Buffalo women's basketball team played well enough in stretches to erase several seven-point deficits and to mount a late-game rally.
Still, the Bulls' inability to play consistently cost them a 58-53 decision to Northern Illinois in front of 1,064 at Alumni Arena on Saturday.
UB trailed by seven twice in the opening half, but rallied to take a 25-23 halftime lead.
But five minutes into the second half, Northern Illinois took the lead for good thanks in large part to aggressive play on the boards.
"I thought that Northern Illinois won the game at the foul line," Hill-MacDonald said. "I have to give credit to them because I thought they did a nice job taking advantage of penetration and going hard to the offensive boards and causing us to foul. We have to do a better job boxing out because today it killed us, and you can win a game on the foul line."
The Huskies (13-6, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) held a 38-29 advantage on the boards and hit 16 of their 22 free throws.
Despite their spotty play, the Bulls made a late run. Down, 51-42, with just under five minutes to play, the Bulls went on a 7-4 run capped by a three-pointer from Stephanie Bennett. The Bulls then converted a turnover into a layup by Kourtney Brown, making it 55-53 with 36 seconds left to play.
But Northern Illinois hit its free throws and the Bulls ran out of time.
Another key to the recent woes of UB (6-14, 1-7 MAC), which has lost four straight, is the lack of touches for Heather Turner. The forward, a force in the low post, went just 2 for 3 with four points as the perimeter players struggled to get her the ball.
Bennett led the Bulls with 12 points while Jamie Schiebner and Brown each added 10 points while Schiebner had nine rebounds.
Meanwhile in New Rochelle, Canisius dropped its fourth straight game in a 72-56 loss at Iona (13-8, 8-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).
The Golden Griffins have dropped five of their last six games.
Trailing by just one at halftime, Canisius was outscored, 43-28, in the second half.
Abby Radunske led the Griffs (11-10, 3-7 MAAC) with 14 points while Martina Webber had 18 for Iona.