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UB women hosting Bowling Green in MAC tourney opener

So far, there hasn’t been a deep postseason run for Western New York Big 4 women’s basketball teams. Monday night the University at Buffalo tries its luck, opening play in the Mid-American Conference playoffs against Bowling Green in Alumni Arena (Radio 1520, 5:30 p.m.). The UB-Bowling Green winner will advance to the MAC Tournament quarterfinals in Cleveland on Thursday.

UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack had an optimistic view of her team’s chances after Saturday’s 62-49 victory over Kent State on Senior Day at Alumni Arena. Legette-Jack liked the focus and intensity, especially on defense, of her young team against Kent State.

“I think that this team is getting ready for postseason right now on the backs of Stephanie Reid and Joanna Smith,” Legette-Jack said Saturday.

Smith, a junior forward, had 14 points in the victory, leading UB in scoring for the 22nd time in 27 games. She is fourth in the MAC in scoring (18.0 ppg). Reid, a sophomore from Australia, led the scoring for UB with 21 in a 63-50 victory at Bowling Green last month. UB won the return game as well, but it was more difficult, 55-52, at Alumni Arena.

No. 9 seed Bowling Green (10-17, 6-12 MAC) lost its last two games, including a 71-61 setback at Akron.

The Falcons are led by Lauren Tibbs, a 6-4 senior, who is averaging 12.5 points and a team-best 6.9 rebounds while earning 25 blocks on the season. Sydney Lambert, a 5-8 freshman, is averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds while Miriam Justinger, a 6-foot senior, is averaging 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-high 2.3 assists.

The Falcons are averaging 59.3 points a game while allowing 62.8. Since a five-game MAC losing streak in January, UB (16-13, 8-10 MAC) has won six of 10, including a sweep of first-place Ohio U.

The only 6-footer in the UB starting lineup is 6-3 junior Cassie Oursler from Grand Island, who averages 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds. Freshman Brittany Morrison made a major contribution on the boards against Kent State with a career-high 13 rebounds.