CLEVELAND – The University at Buffalo could not slow down one of the best shooting teams in the nation Saturday and lost to Central Michigan, 96-91, in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
Central Michigan, ranked ninth in the nation in scoring and 14th in three-point shooting, hit 12 three-pointers. It was the most points allowed by UB this season.
The Chippewas (28-4) earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UB (27-5) is likely to get an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, despite the loss. The Bulls entered the game ranked 19th in the NCAA's Ratings Percentage Index. The Bulls will find out for sure when the NCAA's selections are announced Monday evening.
Central Michigan held a 10-point lead, 90-80, with 53 seconds to go. But UB pulled within four, 93-89, with 26 seconds left.
UB could not keep pace with the CMU offense. UB center Cassie Oursler got in early foul trouble, was relegated to the be53ch in the second half and managed just four points. UB point guard Stephanie Reid had to sit out about six minutes in the middle of the second half when she banged her left hand. Then she turned an ankle with 4:52 left in the game and left for good. Despite it all, Reid had 15 points.
But defense was the much bigger issue. CMU got a strong game from 6-3 center Tinara Moore, the MAC player of the year. She had 17 points and 14 rebounds. CMU got 26 points from junior guard Presley Hudson.