Will the third time be a charm?
The University at Buffalo earned a Wednesday date against No. 1 seed Ohio U with Monday night’s 60-44 rout of Bowling Green at Alumni Arena.
Led by first team all-conference selection Joanna Smith, the Bulls held the visiting Falcons scoreless for 8 minutes and 14 seconds of the third quarter to build a 22-point lead before letting up in the first-round game.
Ohio lost only two conference games in the regular season, both to UB. The Bulls triumphed 51-43 at Alumni Arena and 70-58 in Athens, Ohio.
UB and Ohio will meet at noon Wednesday to get the quarterfinal round started at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Ohio was one of four teams that drew a bye into the quarterfinals.
Monday night, UB led 35-22 after two quarters. Bowling Green scored the first basket of the second half, a three by Rachel Myers after 40 seconds. The Falcons did not score again until Carly Santoro made a three-pointer with 1:06 left in the quarter. By then, UB owned a 49-29 advantage.
Then the Bulls got careless. UB went 5:05 in the fourth quarter without scoring and saw its lead narrowed to 53-40 before Cassie Oursler (Grand Island) ended the spell with a jump shot with 4:22 left.
Smith finished with 16 points to lead UB, but only four of her points came in the second half. Oursler had 10 points. Smith and Brittany Morrison had eight rebounds each as UB dominated the boards against the taller Falcons, 48-32. Senior Lauren Tibbs has 12 points for Bowling Green, which shot only 25 percent (12 of 47) and had 16 turnovers. UB, which had only two free-throw tries, making both, shot only 38.2 (26 of 68).
Earlier on Monday, Smith became just the fifth UB player to make first team all-conference. The last was Brittany Henderson in 2012. UB point guard Stephanie Reid made third team and was named to the inaugural All-Defensive team.
Smith is joined on the All-MAC first team by seniors Anita Brown of Akron, Nathalie Fontaine of Ball State, Kiyanna Black of Ohio U and Brenae Harris of Toledo.
In other news Monday, UB sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden and junior forward Blake Hamilton were named All-MAC third team in men’s basketball selections.
Also honored by the MAC was CJ Massinburg, who was named to the All-Freshman team and junior Willie Conner, who was selected to the inaugural All-Defensive team.
The UB men will face Miami (Ohio), in a MAC tournament quarterfinal on Thursday in Cleveland. Miami, the No. 11 seed, upset No. 6 Ball State, 49-47, in a first-round game Monday night in Muncie, Ind. Miami upset UB at Alumni Arena, 67-59, last week.