Buffalo State uses dominant fourth quarter to beat Oneonta, 79-71

Jason Guth, Sports Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo State Women’s Basketball team used a 29-point fourth quarter to overcome a 3-point deficit at the end of the third, handing Oneonta its sixth loss in conference play and 10th overall.

Led by Katie Villarini’s 30-point effort and Adiya Jones’ 16-point showing, the Bengals went on a 9-2 run midway through the fourth quarter, capped off by a 3-pointer from Villarini to push Buffalo State ahead by five with 5:34 to play, a lead they never surrendered.

Jones and Villarini combined for 24 of the team’s 29 points in the fourth, 15 of them coming from the free-throw line.

The Bengals made 32-of-36 from the charity stripe for the whole game, aiding the team to victory. In their loss against Oneonta in January, the Bengals shot just 12 for 19 at the stripe, something head coach Marybeth Nugent alluded to in her postgame interview.

“We preach free-throws in practice all the time,” Nugent said. “At Oneonta, free-throws (were) a huge thing where we weren’t making any. … So, that’s something that we’ve definitely been focusing on in practice and Adiya and (Villarini) knocked them down.”

Tashawni Cornfield added 16 points of her own, shooting an efficient 7 for 13 while playing with foul trouble throughout the second half before fouling out in the game’s final minute. Brianna Smith added eight points in 31 minutes of action.

The Bengals shot 50% in the first half on 12-of-24 shooting, and led 36-31 at the end of the second quarter.

Molly Stephens led the way for the Red Dragons (10-10, 7-6 SUNYAC), finishing with 21 points and five 3-pointers. Nadia Brown added a dozen points and Jenna Harclerode, 11, but it wasn’t enough as Buffalo State leapfrogged Oneonta in the SUNYAC standings, taking sole possession of fourth place in the six-team playoff hunt.

Buffalo State (10-8, 7-5 SUNYAC) will look to capitalize on their current five-game homestand at a crucial point in the season with six games remaining.

“It’s nice, especially with the weather (postponements) and date changes,” coach Nugent said of the homestand. “The fact that we get to be here and have our own shootaround and film session in the morning, it’s definitely a big help. … And we love playing in the Arena.”

The Bengals have a quick turnaround tomorrow as they try to avenge another loss against New Paltz; tip-off is at noon.