CLEVELAND – Stephanie Reid hit an 8-foot bank shot at the buzzer in overtime to give the University at Buffalo women’s basketball team a victory over Central Michigan and a first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Reid, a 5-foot-6 sophomore from Australia, took an inbounds pass with 3.2 seconds left 30 feet from the basket and drove for the score to give the Bulls a 73-71 victory.
UB, the eighth seed, became the highest-seeded team ever to win the MAC Tournament, which began in 1982. The highest previous seed to win the MAC was a No. 4.
The Bulls improved to 20-13. Central Michigan, the No. 2 seed, fell to 23-10.
The result capped an amazing campaign for UB, which was picked to finish last in the East Division of the MAC. UB lost 76 percent of its points and 71 percent of its rebounding from last year’s team, which went 19-13.
But the Bulls won with depth and a first-team all-conference star in guard Joanna Smith.
Smith, a junior guard from Mississippi, scored 23 points in the title game. Reid finished with 10 points and 12 assists.
UB sophomore Katherine Ups, a 5-9 forward from Australia, was a hero for the Bulls. She hit back to back three pointers in overtime. The first gave UB a 67-65 lead. The second gave UB a 70-67 lead.
Central Michigan tied it at 71 on two free throws by freshman Presley Hudson with 10.4 seconds left.
UB took a 37-36 lead into intermission after sophomore forward Courtney Wilkins hit a three-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer. UB started the game fast, taking a 21-11 lead. But the Bulls survived a prolonged cold
The NCAA Tournament bracket and pairings will be announced Monday evening.