Buffalo State women's basketball team is having another fine season, despite the fact it is squarely in the shadow of its No. 2-ranked counterpart, the Buffalo State men.
"Given the incredible success of the men's program, I find myself almost apologizing for the fact we're 11-2," admits Lady Bengals coach Gail Maloney.
One Lady Bengal who isn't in the shadow of anyone is forward Arlene Eagan, who was ranked No. 1 in the country in field-goal percentage in the latest NCAA Division III statistics.
Eagan is shooting 66 percent from the field (95 of 144) and averaging 17 points and 11.9 rebounds a game. The 5-foot-9 junior does most of her damage in the paint.
"We're a little more oriented to getting the ball inside to her," said Maloney. "She has incredible arm length and good jumping ability, and she rebounds well against players 6-1 and 6-2."
Maloney credits freshman point guard Regina Austin of Niagara Falls with getting the ball inside effectively.
"She's doing a fine job becoming comfortable in our offense," Maloney said. Austin is averaging 6.5 points and 4.2 assists.
Experience is State's strength. Seniors Dee Ross (16.8 ppg) and Serry Jones (8.7 ppg) and junior Alex Hoover (9.4 ppg) are the other starters.
The Lady Bengals' losses were to seventh-ranked Nazareth and Hartwick. Maloney's team figures to vie with Cortland for the state university title. The two meet at Cortland Feb. 16. Last year, State beat Cortland in the regular season by 15 and 17 points, but lost by one in the conference final.
Buffalo State's men were ranked second in the country in field-goal percentage defense and scoring defense in the last Division III statistical report. The Bengals are holding foes to 38.3 percent shooting from the field and 57.5 points a game. Buffalo State is outrebounding foes by 5.9 boards a game and is forcing 20 turnovers a game.
Offensively, the Bengals are shooting 49 percent from the field. Scoring leaders are: Nate Gainey (13.7 ppg); Chuck Swierski (10.7 ppg); Jerry Young (10.4 ppg); and Shane Johnson and Jason Slaughter (9.3 ppg each).
Local freshman helping Siena
Buffalo Arts product Lee Matthews, who got away from Canisius and Niagara, is playing a key role for Siena. The 6-foot-7 freshman forward has been thrust into the starting center role since the Saints' Steve Downey suffered a broken foot two weeks ago. Over his past six games, Matthews has averaged 12.7 points and 7.8 rebounds. Last week, he averaged 12 points and 8.7 rebounds to earn Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rookie of the week honors.
"I don't think I can say enough about Lee Matthew's play defensively," said Siena coach Mike Deane.
The 6-11 Downey is out another three weeks, which will put pressure on Matthews, who will get little help from the rest of Siena's thin front line. Until Downey returns, Deane will use 6-6 Jeff Robinson at forward instead of guard.
Daredevil dunkers at Aud
The Bud Light Daredevils, a troupe that turns slam dunking into an acrobatic art, will perform during halftime of the Canisius-Fordham game Thursday at Memorial Auditorium.
The Daredevils' act consists of an eight-minute slam dunk and acrobatic show. The five-member group uses mini-trampolines to perform their high-rim act. They were formed in 1980 when they combined their precision gymnastic and ball-handling skills while cheerleading at the University of Mississippi. They will perform at 125 events around the world this year.
For the St. Peter's game on Monday at the Koessler Center, Canisius will stage laser tag games among fans during game breaks. The tag game involves shooting a light-emitting laser hadows
o State women
"gun" at a person or object wearing a target that sense when a "hit" has been made. The Canisius mascot, the Griffin, will wear the laser target. Fans will be randomly selected to aim at the mascot from their seats. The supplies for the game will be provided by Lasertron Inc. of Buffalo. Successful shooters will be awarded a coupon for a free 30-minute session, a $7 value.
Swimmers nationally ranked
The St. Bonaventure swim team's 800 freestyle relay unit is ranked 20th in the nation. The team of Kevin Paulson, John Thurling, Garvin Fergusson and Tim Simon has a time of 6:52.78. Thurling recently had his best unshaven time in the 100 butterfly, a Bona pool-record 51.22 seconds. Thurling is trying to repeat as an NCAA qualifier in that event.
In Division II swimming, the UB men's team is ranked 10th in the nation. Nationally ranked Bulls include: Jason Reusch (No. 2, 200 free, 1:41.49; No. 3, 100 free 46.15; No. 12, 50 free, 21.54); Ray Willie (No. 3, 500 free, 4:38.08); Scott Wiltsie (No. 3, 200 IM, 1:57.74); and Tim Kenney (No. 9, 200 breast, 2:10.57). UB's 400 medley and 400 free relays both are ranked fourth.
Around & About
The UB basketball team was hoping to get a junior college transfer for the second semester to boost its inside game. Brian Bedford, a center at Triton (Ill.) Junior College, wanted to come to UB, but could not get enough credits to transfer in time. . . . St. Bonaventure has installed new "metal halite" light fixtures in the Reilly Center, greatly increasing the illumination in the arena. . . . Colgate is No. 3 in the NCAA Division I hockey poll, behind Michigan State and Minnesota. Providence is fourth and Lake Superior State fifth. The top of the ECAC standing looks like this: Colgate (10-1-1), Harvard (8-5-1), Cornell (7-3-2), Clarkson (7-4-1), and Princeton (7-6-1). . . . Alisa Robinson of the Canisius women's basketball team ranks 23rd in the nation in scoring at 21.8 ppg. Lady Griffs guard Jennifer McHugh ranks 16th in free throw percentage at 87 percent (48 of 55). The Lady Griffs are 14-2.