The first berth for the University at Buffalo in the Women’s NIT ended abruptly Thursday night.
The Bulls quickly found themselves down, 10-0, and never recovered in an 84-61 loss to West Virginia at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers (19-14) jumped out with hot shooting, starting the game going 7 for 16 from the field and 2 of 4 from three-point range. On the other end, Buffalo started 1 for 12.
A pair of free throws gave the Mountaineers a 46-15 advantage with 3:30 left in the first half.
At the break, West Virginia led, 50-28, and had hit 8-of-13 three-point shots while dominating the glass, 24-18.
Sophomore guard Joanna Smith notched her first career double-double and led the Bulls with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Stephanie Reid scored 11 points – the other only Buffalo player in double figures.
Defensively, the Bulls had no answer for the outside shooting of Bria Holmes and Teana Muldrow. Holmes, the junior starting guard, netted 20 points, hitting 3 of 6 from three-point range. Muldrow, a redshirt freshman forward, scored 20 off the bench, including hitting 5 of 7 from three.
The Bulls end their season 19-13 overall. It was the final collegiate game for two UB seniors – Kristen Sharkey and Christa Baccas. Sharkey finished with nine points and five rebounds, going 3 of 11 from the field with one three-pointer and two free throws. Baccas, who entered the game averaging 7.9 points and 7.9 rebounds, was held scoreless with one board. She did have two blocks, giving her 251 for her collegiate career.
West Virginia, which made its fourth WNIT appearance in its ninth straight postseason berth, will play Hampton in the second round, with the date and site to be determined. The Pirates defeated Drexel on the road, 45-42.