It was almost a clean sweep Sunday for Western New York Big 4 women’s basketball teams.
The University at Buffalo, Canisius and St. Bonaventure scored wins. Niagara was the only loser.
UB (6-0) continued with its best start in 14 seasons, defeating Clemson (1-6), 61-51, in the UCF Thanksgiving Classic in Orlando, Fla.,
A career-high 26-point output by junior Joanna Smith led the Bulls, who are 6-0 for the first time since the 2000-01 team started 8-0. Smith had 10 points during a 14-2 UB run that turned a five-point halftime deficit into a 42-33 lead after three periods. She had 14 points in the third.
Canisius (3-2) also posted an impressive victory, defeating Bucknell, 61-56, at the Koessler Athletic Center.
The Griffs used a smothering defense to defeat the Bison (4-2). For the fifth game in a row, Canisius held its opponents under 40 percent from the field. Bucknell made just 20 off 55 shots for 36.4.
The Griffs shot 23 of 55 (41.8) and were 9 of 22 from beyond the arc.
Tiahana Mills had a breakout game, 13 points on 5 for 6 shooting, to lead the Canisius scoring. Margret Halfdanardottir and Maria Welch also hit double figures and combined for six three-pointers.
Seniors Katie Healy (Lancaster) and Nyla Rueter, along with sophomore Miranda Drummond, combined for 52 points in St. Bonaventure’s 74-63 triumph over Toledo in the Reilly Center. Bona is 3-2 while Toledo is 0-5.
Healy posted a game-high 18 points to surpass the 1,300 career mark and now has 1,316. She also collected seven rebounds and connected on 6 of 8 shot attempts to go along with four assists, four blocks and three steals in just 26 minutes of action.
Drummond had 17 points, as did Rueter.
A 17-2 run helped the Bonnies to a 27-21 halftime lead, and Rueter scored all of her points in the second half to help hold off the visiting Rockets.
“I was really pleased with our response to a tough first quarter,” Bonnies coach Jim Crowley said. “We saw some really good leadership out of our kids …”
There was some good news even in defeat for Niagara (1-4). Sam Lapszynski recorded another career-high with 27 points in the Purple Eagles’ 80-75 loss at Detroit (1-4). The 6-foot-3 senior filled in for the injured Victoria Rampado and surpassed her previous high of 24 in an overtime win over Cleveland State in Niagara’s previous game.
“Sam’s been a part of the game plan all along,” said Niagara coach Jada Pierce. “With Rampado out, we knew we would give her the confidence and the opportunities to make shots.”
Simone Hobdy led Niagara in rebounds with nine while Taylor McKay and Kaylee Stroemple each had 12 points.