CLEVELAND – Fresh off a victory over the highest-scoring team in the Mid-American Conference, the University at Buffalo women’s basketball team Friday will try to contain the highest-scoring player in the MAC.
Akron guard Anita Brown averages 21.3 points a game, which led the MAC and ranks 10th in the nation.
UB meets Akron at noon in a MAC tournament semifinal game at Quicken Loans Arena (Radio 1520 AM, TWCSN).
UB advanced Wednesday with a 72-60 upset of top-seeded Ohio, which averaged a MAC-best 75.9 points a game. Akron advanced with an overtime win over Toledo thanks to a 37-point effort from Brown.
“We think we have a really good chance,” said UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “This is going to be their offense against our defense, and that’s been the nature of our season. Everybody’s been better than us offensively. We’re not the best offensive prowess team, but let defense be our mantra. Let us decide defense means something every possession.”
UB (18-13) is the eighth seed. Akron (19-12) is the fifth seed. Second-seeded Central Michigan meets sixth-seeded Eastern Michigan in the other semifinal.
Akron beat UB in both meetings this season, by 69-61 on Jan. 16 and by 62-49 on March 2.
Brown is a 5-foot-8 senior from Ohio. She scored 28 in the first game and 21 in the second. Akron’s No. 2 threat is 5-9 guard Hannah Plybon. She combined for 44 points in the two games against UB.
“They have two kids who do a great job,” Legette-Jack said. “They are absolutely amazing athletes. We can’t stop them because they’re too good. But we can make them make different decisions and slow them down just a little bit.”
UB ranked third in the MAC on defense, allowing 62.2 points a game.
The Akron games were two of UB’s poorer offensive outings of the season. UB shot only 29 percent from the field in each game. The Bulls made 5 of 23 three-pointers in the first game and just 5 of 26 in the second. The Bulls likely will have to do better to pull a second straight MAC tournament upset.