Aggressive D’ leads Women’s Basketball to SUNYAC Semis, 61-50

Aaron Bobeck/The Record

Bryan Pearson-Reese, Sports Reporter

The Buffalo State Women’s Basketball team stayed defensively consistent and applied pressure even when shots were not falling for them in the first half in their matchup Tuesday night as they defeated the Oneonta Red Dragons, 61-50, in the SUNYAC quarterfinals.

Despite being down seven points at the half, Bengals’ coach Marybeth Nugent says her team never felt the pressure of being down in a playoff game.

“Honestly I felt that it was our game the whole game,” Nugent said.

Coming out of half time being down 31-24, Buffalo State made defensive adjustments, namely starting to press more. The Bengals forced 11 turnovers in the second half.

“Our defense is kind of what won that game and forcing all those turnovers really helped us win the game,” Katie Villarini said.

In the third quarter, the Buffalo State went on a 12-4 run sparked by a three-pointer from Villiarini just over midway through. In the same run, Jenna Lee had a putback and-one that had the Sports Arena roaring.

“I think the biggest part of Jenna was when we put in the press she is great for the back of the press of like stopping, and not letting them score”, Nugent said. “We wanted to stay small because we knew they couldn’t guard us.”

The Bengals went into the fourth quarter down 41-40. The Bengals continued to apply their defensive pressure and made up their mind to make each possession count. Their work on the defensive end allowed Oneonta to commit two charge calls in a row and three turnovers.

A minute and a half in, Villiarini gave Buffalo State the lead for good knocking down two free throws. She scored seven points in the fourth alongside Tori Hackett, who was a monster on the boards with 10 rebounds and scored all her five points in the final stanza.

“I think Katie realized (Olivia Dobrovosky) couldn’t guard her,” Nugent said.

Villarini scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half after having a tough first half. She also had three assists and three rebounds.

Alongside her was, Liv LeBaron, who scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds. LeBaron stayed consistent throughout the game up and down the court.

In the first half, both teams were competitive. Oneonta came out missing their first four shots, until Leanne Corso put her team on her back, and scored all 12 points for her team in the first quarter. Corso scored three more to start the second quarter and ended the game with 27 points and 12 rebounds.

The game was close in the first quarter, but Oneonta went on a 9-0 run in the second. Highlighted by Olivia Allrich, who ended the game with nine points and four rebounds.

Nugent believes despite losing twice to New Paltz this year, the Bengals confident heading into their game with the top seeded Hawks.

“We’re so ready for Friday, like we knew this was the first step, but we’re excited for Friday, because they’re the best team SUNY wise in the SUNYAC,” Nugent said. “We know what we need to do differently.”

The Buffalo State Women’s Basketball team will take on the New Paltz Hawks on Friday at 7:30 in New Paltz.