Women’s basketball rebounds, retains No. 5 spot


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Senior forward Ashley Wallace had 13 poins and nine rebounds in a 81-75 win over Oswego on Saturday.

Andrew Kuczkowski, Reporter

On its push to make the playoffs, the Buffalo State women’s basketball team split its games this past weekend, which was enough to retain their spot as the no. 5 seed in the SUNYAC. The Bengals are now 11-10 (8-6 in SUNYAC matchups).

The Bengals dropped their first game against the Cortland Red Dragons, 78-64, on Friday. The Red Dragons came to play, shooting 40 percent from the three-point line, while Buffalo State made only 33 percent of all shots and were only 21.7 percent from the 3-point line.

After taking the loss against the second place team in the SUNYAC, Buffalo State looked to turn it around against Oswego on Saturday. The Bengals made a quick turnaround, starting the game with 11 unanswered points. After the impressive run, the Bengals did not let up, continuing to control the game in the first half without losing the lead at any point.

The Oswego State Lakers changed their strategy at halftime and made strides towards a comeback, tying the game with at 60 with six minutes left.

“They switched [defensive strategy and] went to man,” head coach Sue Roarke said. “We didn’t execute well for a particular stretch. Their post [player] No. 20 did a good job inside scoring. We had difficulty defending her. They made a run, and basketball is all about runs.”

The Bengals lost their big lead, but they did not lose their focus.

“I was still composed,” senior guard Olivia Luciani said. “I knew we were going to pull it off, but it is always nerve-racking when it is a close game.”

Roarke and the Bengals changed their defensive strategy by going from man-to-man to full court trap and transferring to a 2-3 zone. The focus in a 2-3 zone is to limit the ball from going down low while sacrificing open shots on the perimeter. The Lakers took advantage, but didn’t execute, as they shot three wide open three-pointers and made only one.

“I never like going zone because I feel like teams tend to hit threes on us for whatever reason,” Luciani said. “But, I got scared for a second, and I was glad we switched back to man.”

The Bengals pulled out the wire-to-wire victory over Oswego, 81-75.

“It was a big one,” Roarke said. “They are right behind us in the conference standings, so we knew we had to get the W to maintain where we were at.”

Luciani had a game-high 23 points. Senior guard Hillary Kollar added 18 points, while going 8-8 at the free throw line.

“It was a great win,” Luciani said. “We needed it; we needed it bad to make the playoffs.”

Freshman forward Niasha Houpe contributed to the win by grabbing 10 offensive and five defensive rebounds.

Houpe nearly decided not to play basketball this season, but feels she made the right decision.

“I feel pretty good, because everyone was telling me not to do basketball,” Houpe said.” I am actually All-American in track, so, I tried it anyway and I am liking it.”

The Bengals (11-11, 8-7 SUNYAC) play their final home game of the season Friday the 13th against Fredonia (9-12 overall, 6-9 SUNYAC) in the Play 4 Kay game.

The Play 4 Kay game is a fundraiser for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, where players will represent women’s fight against cancer by wearing pink uniforms and hosting fundraisers to donate for the cause.

“We have a two week final push here,” Roarke said. “And every game is important to us.”