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MAC Tournament Gameday: UB women vs. Central Michigan

Tip-off: 11 a.m., Friday, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland.

TV: ESPN Plus.

Radio: ESPN 1520 AM.

Records: No. 4 Buffalo 21-9, No. 1 Central Michigan 25-6.

Last time out: UB defeated No. 5 Kent State 85-52 in a MAC Tournament quarterfinal Wednesday. Cierra Dillard scored 22 points and Hanna Hall added 16 for the Bulls.

Central Michigan defeated No. 9 Eastern Michigan 88-80 in a MAC Tournament quarterfinal Wednesday, as Presley Hudson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer forced overtime. Hudson and Reyna Frost each scored 28 points for the Chippewas, the defending MAC Tournament champions.

Dillard does it: Dillard is one of four finalists for the Dawn Staley Award, given to the top guard in Division I college basketball, and was one of 10 candidates for the Ann Meyers Drysdale award, given annually to the top shooting guard in women’s college basketball. The senior from Rochester is an All-MAC first-team selection who averages 25.2 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, 5.6 assists per game and 2.9 steals per game. Dillard has scored in double figures in all 30 of UB’s games this season, with a season-high 43 points Jan. 9 in a 91-84 win at Eastern Michigan. She has also scored at least 20 points in 26 of the Bulls’ last 30 games.

All Frost, no chill: Frost, a 6-foot senior forward, leads the Chippewas with 21.9 points per game and 13.5 rebounds per game. Frost was named the MAC’s player of the year earlier this week, and is an All-MAC first team and defensive team selection. She has scored in double figures in every game this season. She also has 28 double-doubles this season, including a 28-point, 13-rebound game Wednesday against Eastern Michigan.

UB on the bubble: The MAC Tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but a win against Central Michigan would strengthen UB’s bid for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulls are projected as an 11 seed in ESPN’s NCAA Tournament prediction, posted Thursday morning. UB is one of three MAC Teams that ESPN projects to make the tournament, along with Ohio and Central Michigan. The tournament pairings will be announced Monday.

History: The Bulls and the Chippewas meet in a rematch of the 2018 MAC Tournament championship game. This is the 28th time the Bulls and Chippewas will meet; CMU leads the all-time series 15-12. The Chippewas have won five of the last seven meetings, and swept both games of the regular-season series, a 76-65 win against UB Feb. 2 in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and a 100-95 win against the Bulls Feb. 16 at Alumni Arena.

Quotable: “We don't know what's next, but all we want you to do is continue to evolve and to go hard and run and be free,” UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack said Wednesday, of the message she has continually sent her team this season. “You're in your passion. As you go through your passion and go hard, those boxes are going to evolve and become what you notice at the end and what we noticed today.”

Next: The winner of the Buffalo-Central Michigan game will advance to the MAC Tournament championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena. The winner will play either No. 3 Miami (Ohio) or No. 2 Ohio for an automatic bid to the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, which begins March 22.

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