The University at Buffalo women's team learned that the Ball State team that visited Alumni Arena on Wednesday night was as good as advertised. Davidson learned the same thing about the St. Bonaventure women at the Reilly Center.
Ball State outscored UB 12-4 to close out the first quarter and stayed in front the rest of the way as the rivals staged a fast-paced offensive show with the Cardinals coming out on top 89-75.
Renee Bennett, Ball State's 6-foot-5 center, had 24 points and 11 rebounds in the victory and Carmen Grande, one of the top assist-makers in the nation, dished off for 10 baskets. However it was Moriah Monaco, a 6-1 junior forward, who did the most damage. Monaco had 35 points for the Cardinals, including 8 three-point baskets in 16 attempts. The other Ball State players shot only 1-7 combined. Monaco also had nine rebounds
All five UB starters reached double-digits in points led by Joanna Smith's 26. Stephanie Reid had 16 assists, tying the UB record set by Ashley Zuber. Freshman Summer Hemphill (Cardinal O'Hara) had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Cassie Oursler (Grand Island) had 14 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes before she fouled out.
Once Ball State established its working margin it held off the Bulls. It was 46-31 at the half and 67-58 after three.
UB is 14-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play. Ball State improved to 14-6 and 7-1 in the MAC.
St. Bonaventure (9-12, 4-5 Atlantic 10) never trailed in its 70-51 triumph over the visiting Wildcats from North Carolina. The Bona defense allowed Davidson no three-point baskets ( 0 for 4) in the first half and 3 of 10 for the game. Overall, Davidson shot only 37.7 (20 for 53).
Matea Britvar led Bona with 14 points, Gabby Richmond had 13 as did Mariah Ruff. Sophomore McKenna Maycock (Randolph) had 13 points and six rebounds off the bench in 30 minutes of action. The Bonnies led 39-18 at halftime and 54-40 at the three-quarter mark. Coach Jesse
Fleming has two conference road games coming up, at Saint Joseph's on Sunday and at Fordham on Feb. 4.
Canisius, St. Bonaventure and UB all have had their moments in the Big 4 men's basketball spotlight this season. Now it's Niagara's turn and the Purple Eagles have the local collegiate stage all to themselves.
With their 91-84 win over Canisius on Monday night the Purple Eagles (7-11, 4-6 MAAC) put one win on top of another for the first time this season and looked impressive doing it. Now they go for three in a row Thursday night when Manhattan visits the Gallagher Center for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game (Radio 1400, 7 p.m.).
Although wins have been hard to come by for coach Chris Casey's team (7-14, 4-6 MAAC) they have been competitive in most games. Their last blowout loss was at Kent State (100-72) on Dec. 7, nearly two months ago.
Manhattan (7-14, 2-8 MAAC) defeated Niagara, 78-69 in their first meeting. The Jaspers' size figures to give Niagara trouble. Manhattan has 6-9 junior Zane Waterman (14.1 ppg), 7-2 junior college transfer Ahmed Ismail (4.2 ppg) and 6-8 junior Calvin Crawford (8.4 ppg).