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UB can’t find its shooting touch in loss to Akron

The University at Buffalo women’s basketball team suffered through a dismal shooting performance Saturday and dropped a 69-61 decision to the University of Akron.

UB shot just 29.2 percent from the field. The Bulls made 5 of 23 shots from three-point range (21.7 percent).

UB’s leading scorer, junior guard Joanna Smith, scored 16 points but made just 5 of 23 overall and 3 of 13 from behind the arc.

UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack thought her team’s ball movement and shot selection were good enough.

“I don’t know how you can get these guys better shots,” Legette-Jack said. “We had wide-open layups and we coughed them up. Our post players did not come to play. … We’ve got to do a better job. They’ve got to step up. We have to continue to figure out what guard can play down low. They got everything they needed to have, it’s just they didn’t bring it today.”

Records: UB fell to 10-6 and 2-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Akron, picked for second in the MAC East, improved to 9-7 and 3-2. Akron has won 20 or more games each of the last three seasons.

Off form: Smith is UB’s best shooter and entered the game averaging 17.3 points and had averaged 22.7 over the previous six games.

“She’s been carrying us,” Legette-Jack said. “Somebody should step up and say, ‘I’ve got your back this time.’ That didn’t happen today.”

Foul trouble: UB’s second-best offensive option, 6-foot-3 sophomore forward Cassie Oursler, scored 13 points but was limited to just 13 minutes of action due to foul trouble. Oursler, the Grand Island star who transferred from Robert Morris, was playing her sixth game since becoming eligible.

“I just don’t think we’re being fair to Cassie right now,” Legette-Jack said. “I really challenge the calls sometimes against her. I don’t know whether she’s too tall, whether they’re not used to seeing her out there or what. I want to go back and see those calls.”

Akron stars: Akron got big games from its two best players. Senior forward Anita Brown scored 26 points, five over her average. Junior forward Hannah Plybon scored 23, seven over her average. Brown was a second-team all-MAC pick last year. Plybon was a third-team pick.

“One of them is going to go off but we couldn’t let both of them go off,” Legette-Jack said. “They both stepped up and did wonderful things for their team.”

All out: UB sophomore point guard Stephanie Reid, one of the three Aussies on the team, distinguished herself with her effort. She had 11 points and six assists. She’s averaging 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals.

“Stephanie tried to push it, but nobody else came with Stephanie,” Legette-Jack said. “She’s a tough kid.”

In control: Akron led the entire final 27 minutes. UB got within seven with 2 minutes left and within six with 30 seconds left.

In the house: The crowd was 816 at Alumni Arena.

Up next: UB plays host to Western Michigan at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Western was picked for third in the MAC West.