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Buffalo gives Big 4 shoutout to St. Bonaventure and growing the women's game

COLUMBUS -- While Buffalo is celebrating its first trip to the NCAA women's basketball tournament, the Bulls are part of another first.

It's the first time the Big 4 has two teams in the women's field.

And that's kind of cool, especially for UB junior forward Cassie Oursler who played her high school ball at Grand Island.

"Me and Katie Healy battled all throughout high school so I know she’s good and she’s been killing it at St. Bonaventure," Oursler said. "Just to see her have success too, it's definitely Western New York pride. I'm proud two of the Big 4s made it in. It's really awesome."

For UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack, it's a sign not necessarily of the growth of basketball in the area but a sign that schools are attracting local talent.

"I’m from Syracuse and I played Empire State Games and I always had a fondness for Western New York," Legette-Jack said. "I always thought we had one or two unbelievable players but sometimes they got away ... I’m like what happens if they all stay? What St. Bonaventure has done, they’ve captured all those great student-athletes to stay that could stay in Buffalo. We can do our part and keep those great local kids home. We can grow this to something really special because the kids are here. The kids are in Buffalo but they’re going away to other cities. Our hope is to do what other great teams are doing – keep the great local kids home.

"To see that St. Bonaventure has been doing it for so many years alone, we can help in that quest to build Western New York. Right now there's so much going on in Buffalo -- all the canals and everything is so amazing except for college sport. What Nate Oates and I are trying to do along with St. Bonaventure and Canisius and Niagara is to make college sports exciting and fun as well as the pro sports. I think we’re taking baby steps. We have a long way to go but I think the community is starting to see that we won't stop. We will not stop until greatness is not just in the Bills and Sabres but also in college sports, too."

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