ALBANY – UB head coach Felisha Legette-Jack let the basketball world in on a team secret. One of her top recruiters is a bald-faced liar, a purveyor of fake news – or at least, of exaggerated weather reports.
"I have a coach who isn't always so truthful, – Cheri Cordoba," Legette-Jack said Friday at the Times Union Center, where the Bulls will take on defending national champion South Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Saturday morning. "She told the Australians it didn't snow in Buffalo. Well, she said it didn't snow a lot."
Cordoba, a native Australian who has been a long-time assistant for Legette-Jack, has brought four women to the UB program, including star senior point guard Stephanie Reid, seniors Lisa and Katherine Ups, and junior Courtney Wilkins. During the recruiting process, she might have underplayed the fact that we tend to get the occasional snowfall in Western New York during the basketball season.
Of course, there are winters when the snow can seem overblown. But not when Reid showed up in Buffalo as a late-arriving freshman in the late fall of 2014. The epic "Snowvember" storm had hit the area in the middle of November that year, dropping as much as seven feet of snow in the southern suburbs. A Bills game had to be postponed and played in Detroit that season.
Reid showed up in December, when the impact of the storm was still very much in effect. When a reporter asked for interesting recruiting stories from international players, she didn't disappoint.
"Coach Cherie," Reid said with a big smile. "It doesn't snow in Buffalo, apparently. Yeah, fun fact for the world. Doesn't snow in Buffalo. So that was a shell-shocker itself. I got on the plane in Melbourne and it was 100 degrees. Then I got off the plane and it was zero, with one pair of brown Ugg boots that I still wear to this day, salt-stained to the core.
"When I got off the plane, everything was white," Reid said. "When my family came in February, they didn't know there was a lake. They thought it was ice, because they didn't know there was actually water underneath there. I didn't know that until – when did it stop snowing? April? So that was a bit of my culture shock."
Legette-Jack said she recalled the ice melting on the pond on campus in June. She might have been exaggerating. It's hard to tell with this truth-twisting band of women.