The Chippewas have finally fallen.
UB women's basketball team (20-4, 11-2 Mid-American Conference) got free throws from Stephanie Reid and Cassie Oursler down the stretch and defended a potential tying 3-point shot in the closing seconds to hand Central Michigan (20-4, 12-1 MAC) its first loss of the MAC season. Oursler had 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Reid scored 20 in the Bulls' 85-82 victory at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night.
Clash of the titans: Wednesday night's matchup was a battle between the teams picked at the top of the MAC's divisions in the preseason poll, Central Michigan in the West and UB in the East. The Chippewas were the heavy preseason favorites to win the league in both the regular season (earning 10 of a possible 12 votes) and MAC tournament (nine of a possible 12 votes). UB earned one vote in each.
First quarter: The Bulls got out to a quick start, doubling up the Chippewas at 14-7 with 3:56 left in the first frame. Central Michigan slowly chipped away at the lead, tying the game at 21 with 37 seconds left in the first thanks to a 3-point shot from Presley Hudson. The Chippewas had a chance to take the lead but weren't able to get up a shot before the buzzer sounded.
Second quarter: Central Michigan made its final eight field goals in the second, including a Reyna Frost layup on an inbound play with seconds remaining on the clock. Frost's basket gave the Chippewas a 48-46 lead at the break.
Third quarter: The Bulls didn't get on the board until three and a half minutes into the third quarter but that didn't sink them. Oursler tied the game at 60 with a minute left, yet Frost hit the Bulls with another dagger. She once again hit a layup at the buzzer to give Central Michigan a 62-60 lead.
Pregame honor: Oursler, a Grand Island native, was given a basketball prior to tip to honor her breaking the 1,000-point mark. The UB forward started her career at Robert Morris but transferred back after three semesters with the Colonials. She broke the century mark against Toledo on Feb. 3.
All-time series: The Bulls tied the all-time series with Central Michigan at 12 games. Central Michigan prevailed in the teams' first matchup this season, an 86-79 decision in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Sharpshooters: The Chippewas, who led the MAC with 9.7 3-point makes per game entering Wednesday, weren't at their best from long range. Central Michigan only hit 6 for 23 from deep.
Assists: Reid, who already broke UB's all-time assists record earlier this season, is inching her way up the MAC's all-time assists record. With her eight assists Wednesday she's 10 away from passing Ball State's Carmen Grande for 12th in the conference's history.
Starters: UB's Felisha Legette-Jack started Summer Hemphill, Reid, Katherine Ups, Cierra Dillard and Oursler. Central Michigan countered with the same group it has started all season: Cassie Breen, Frost, Presley Hudson, Micaela Kelly and Tinara Moore. The Chippewas are the only team in the MAC to start the same five players in every game.
Up Next: The Bulls, who have five games left on the regular season schedule, host Akron on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Story topics: University at Buffalo women's basketball