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UB pushes season-opening winning streak to five

The start by the University at Buffalo’s women’s basketball team is starting to reach some new heights.

The Bulls won their fifth in a row on Saturday afternoon, as they defeated Sacred Heart, 76-55, at Alumni Arena. It’s only the second time since 2000-01 that UB has opened with five straight wins.

The Bulls started the 2015-16 season with six victories in a row. That team went on to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Buffalo took care of business almost from the opening tip. A 10-0 run in the first few minutes put UB ahead for good, and the Bulls closed the quarter on a 14-1 run to finish with a 26-10 lead.

UB added to its lead in the second quarter, outscoring Sacred Heart 21-13, to take a 47-23 lead at the half. The Pioneers made up a little ground during the course of the second half, but not enough to threaten UB at any point. The lead at one point hit 27 points.

University at Buffalo's Cassie Oursler shoots against Sacred Heart during first half action at Alumni Arena on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016.(Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

UB's Cassie Oursler drives for two of her 18 points. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Cassie Oursler (Grand Island) led the Bulls with 18 points in only 20 minutes. She added eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks as she had the best statistical game of her career at UB.

JoAnna Smith had 11 points and Stephanie Reid added 10.

The bench played a large role in the victory. Brittany Morrison led the way as she scored a season-high eight points while grabbing seven rebounds during 15 minutes of work. The nonstarters outscored their Pioneer counterparts, 30-15. Thirteen players saw at least nine minutes of playing time, and all of them had at last one rebound.

For Sacred Heart, Hannah Kimmel led the way with 17 points.

Rebounding was one of the keys to the game for the Bulls. They grabbed 57 rebounds, a season-high for the team. That included 21 offensive rebounds, and they converted those into 22 points. UB scored 48 of its points in the paint.

UB’s three-game homestand continues on Thursday against Central Florida. Then comes a Dec. 4 afternoon game against Hofstra.

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