COLUMBUS -- The advice to her team is simple -- just play.
When the University at Buffalo women's basketball takes to the court for its first ever NCAA tournament appearance Friday afternoon, all the pressure is on Ohio State. The Buckeyes, after all, are supposed to win.
“We have nothing to lose," UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "It’s our first time here, they’ve been here before and they have a lot of history. They have 60,000 people here and we’re in their backyard. I told my guys to just go out and have some fun. Defend, learn, trust each other, walk back to back. Don’t bring nervousness to it at all; they should have all the nerves because they’re supposed to win.”
The game tips off at 2:30 p.m. in St. John's Arena -- the "old" arena at Ohio State. The new arena, the 18,000-seat Schottenstein Center, is the usual home for Ohio State basketball (men and women) but is already occupied with the state high school basketball tournament. So to St. John's Arena the NCAA games go. The old-school arena with wooden chair back seats holds 13,000.
Meanwhile, here are the links to get you ready for game day:
- Ohio State enters the game having lost three of their last four. Their senior leader, Ameryst Alston, was injured during the Big 10 tournament and the program is "cautiously optimistic" she can play against Buffalo.
- Cassie Oursler transferred to Buffalo from Robert Morris primarily to be closer to her family in Grand Island after her youngest sister had a health scare. While the decision put her mind at ease, it also transformed her game in the low post.
- For more on the Buckeyes, check out beat reporter Jim Massie's breakdown in the Columbus Dispatch.
- And for good measure, while the Bulls are enjoying their first NCAA tournament, they are part of another first -- the first time the Big 4 has two teams in the women's field. It's an exciting time for Buffalo and Legette-Jack hopes the Bulls can follow the lead of St. Bonaventure and keep the best Western New York players home.