Everything always comes easier when the offense is flowing and the shots are falling.
That wasn't the case for the University at Buffalo women's basketball team Sunday afternoon, which is why the Bulls' 62-53 season-opening win over Youngstown State in front of 558 in Alumni Arena was such an encouraging sign.
"Finding a way to win when you're not having a great shooting night helps in building confidence," UB coach Linda Hill-MacDonald said. "They know they can find a way to do little things to secure a win even though the ball might not be going through the basket. When things aren't going well offensively you have to be able to do those little things a bit harder."
Those little things included rebounding and getting after it in the defensive end.
While the Bulls shot just 34.8 percent from the field, they attacked the boards, grabbing 51 rebounds -- 20 of which came on the offensive end.
"They were crashing the boards hard, flat out," Youngstown State coach Tisha Hill said. "I didn't think either team shot well at all but they kept beating us to the boards and they would get a little more out of one possession."
Forwards Jamie Schiebner and Heather Turner paced the Bulls' glass attack, notching double-doubles -- Schiebner with 12 rebounds and 10 points and Turner with 10 rebounds and 11 points.
But rebounding was a team effort that included those little details of boxing out and hustling after loose balls.
"Most definitely it was a team mentality," said senior captain Stephanie Bennett, who had six boards, six assists and 11 points. "We worked all practice since Day One on it. We wanted to improve on rebounding this year as a team and we took pride in it. We hustled toward the ball and crashed the boards. Twenty offensive boards, that's great for us."
The Bulls also were able to capitalize on solid defensive pressure, converting 16 Youngstown turnovers into 24 points.
And yet another good sign for Buffalo came from its underclassmen, who were the main contributors to the team's 19 bench points.
"You have to be able to do that whether a person comes and gives you a rebound or an assist or a steal," Hill-MacDonald said. "You have to have those kinds of contributions and it's nice to see that 10 of the 11 people who played scored. And that [bench] is a very young group of players and that bodes well for what's to come later in the season."
Buffalo goes on the road for games at Presbyterian College (Thursday) and at South Carolina (Saturday).
>Bonnies start 2-0
The St. Bonaventure women's basketball team used all available players, controlled the glass and the tempo to earn a 74-68 win at Kent State. The win improved Bona to 2-0.
Dana Mitchell scored 18 points to pace four Bonnies in double figures: Cara Gustafson (13), Erica Schiefen (12) and Katelyn Murray (10) were the others. Bona held a 36-25 rebounding advantage, led by Tiara Johnson's nine.
"Our offense balanced the floor and we were able to take shots and set up the weak side to be in a position to rebound," Bona coach Jim Crowley said. "We were able to box out and keep possessions alive in the second half and it scored us some points in the first half when we struggled a bit."
The Bonnies host Albany at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Reilly Center.