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Bulls begin MAC play with a bang

The University at Buffalo women's basketball team opened its Mid-American Conference season with an impressive 61-45 win at Akron on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the St. Bonaventure men closed out its non-conference season with a 68-55 win at Arkansas-Little Rock.

In Akron, Ohio, the Bulls not only kicked off MAC play with a victory, they brought their overall record to 8-6, giving them more wins than all of last season.

"Every game is important but the way you start the MAC season certainly sets the stage for your season," Buffalo coach Linda Hill-MacDonald said. "I thought we played hard, most of the time we were smart. We were able to take advantage of what Akron gave us and were able to get the ball inside to Kourtney Brown, which is always good."

Brown scored 28 points, bolstered by going 11 of 13 from the floor.

Bridgette Kendricks had 10 points -- eight in the second half -- along with five rebounds.

The Bulls held a 26-21 halftime lead, which grew in the second before Akron made a run. The Zips (7-6, 0-1) made it a 41-36 game with 11:14 left to play, but the Bulls went on a 7-0 run to go back up by 12, 48-36.

Point guard Ashley Zuber had a solid stat line -- nine points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Defense was a key for the Bulls as they held Akron to just 29.3 percent shooting from the field and held a 46-33 advantage in rebounds.

"This team is finally buying into the fact that defense creates offensive opportunities," Hill-MacDonald said. "It's not always a steal but sometimes forcing a team to rush shots and then securing a rebound. Rebounding is a key part of playing a good defensive game."

The win is the first in a MAC opener for Buffalo since the 2007-08 season. It also puts the Bulls on a three-game winning streak -- their first in two years.

In Little Rock, Ark., Demitrius Conger scored 21 points with 10 rebounds to pace the Bonnies, who earned the sweep of the in-season home-and-home series with the Trojans.

They did it with star Andrew Nicholson playing only 20 minutes after getting into foul trouble. He finished with 11 points.

The Trojans went on an 8-0 run to end the first half and knot the score, 26-26, but the Bonnies shot incredibly well from the field in the second half and pulled away late for the win. For the game, Bona shot 55.1 percent (27 of 49) from the field.

Ogo Adegboye had 17 points with nine assists as the Bonnies improve to 8-5.

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