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UB women drop double-overtime heartbreaker to Central Michigan

Chippewas remain unbeaten in conference play.
Credit: AP
Buffalo head coach Felisha Legette-Jack coaches from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball championship game of the Mid-American Conference women's tournament against Ohio, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Cleveland. Buffalo won 77-61. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

AMHERST, N.Y. — Despite having four players score in double figures and a pair of career-best performances, the University at Buffalo women's basketball team fell 98-93 to Central Michigan in double overtime at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night.

With the loss the Bulls fall to 13-6 overall, 4-4 in league play.

It was Buffalo's first double-overtime game since January 31, 2006, when the Bulls played to three extra periods with Northern Illinois, also at Alumni Arena.

The Bulls were led by freshman Dyaisha Fair, who had 29 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists and five steals.

Senior guard Theresa Onwuka came up one steal short of a triple double as she scored 17 points to go with 11 rebounds and nine steals.

Freshman Loren Christie recorded her first career double-double as she recorded career-highs with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Elea Gaba also scored in double figures with 12 points.

"Our conference is strong, our conference is really good, and we are fighting every day to help the country understand that we're better than a one-bid league," UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "What you saw out there was two teams that didn't want to relinquish it, but when you have one of the youngest teams in the country we are going to make some silly mistakes down the stretch. But I like that it's happening in January because those mistakes won't be happening in February and that's going to gear us toward our goal to get better every day."

The two teams would trade baskets and stops to begin the game as the game would be knotted at 10 at the first media timeout. Central broke the game open with a 7-0 run out of the media to take a 17-10 lead at the 2:59 and force a Buffalo timeout. The Chippewas would extend the run to 13-0 to take a 23-10 lead before Fair knocked down a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to 23-12 at the end of the first.

Junior Marissa Hamilton would drill a three from the top of the key to cut the lead to 25-18 early in the second quarter, but CMU would answer with a 7-0 run to take a 34-20 lead at the 6:53 mark and they would lead 34-23 at the media timeout. The Buffalo offense would come alive as they would rip off an 11-0 run, capped by a pair of great finishes by Adebola Adeyeye and Fair, and held the Chippewas scoreless for five plus minutes to cut the lead to 34-31 at the 2:13 mark, but CMU would close the quarter on a 6-2 run to take a 39-33 lead at the half.

Fair would get hot to start the third as she would score 10 points in the opening minutes, including a step back three and a fastbreak and-one and Hall would follow with a three to give UB its second lead of the game, 50-48, at the 5:52 mark but Gabrielle Bird would convert a jumper through contact to give CMu a 53-50 lead at the media timeout. The two teams would continue to battle before Christie drilled a three from long range to cut the lead to 59-60 but Molly Davis answered with a triple of her own and Maddy Walters drilled a shot from three quarter court at the buzzer to give CMU a 66-61 lead at the end of the third.

Buffalo would show fight to start the second as they opened up a 9-0 run over a two minute span, highlighted by a second chance three by Christie and a pair of steals and scores by Onwuka, to take a 72-68 lead and force a CMU timeout. The two teams would then trade mini 4-0 runs and Buffalo would take a 79-75 lead with 2:21 to go. CMU broke open a 6-0 run to take a 81-79 lead with 42 seconds remaining before Fair converted a pair of free throws on the next UB possession to tie the game 81-81 with 36 seconds to go and the Bulls would come up with a big defensive stop in the final seconds to force overtime.

The first overtime period would be a defensive battle as both teams made just two field goals and scored five points each to send the game to a second overtime with the game tied 86-86. The Bulls and Chippewas would trade free throws to begin the second extra period before Waters scored in the paint to give CMU a 94-91 lead with 1:26 to play. Hanna Hall then converted on a pair of free throws with 46 seconds to go to cut the lead back to one but after a defensive stop Fair was unable to connect on a runner on UB's final possession and CMU sealed the game with four straight makes from the charity stripe.

The Chippewas outshot the Bulls from the floor and were clutch from the free throw line, going 16-of-19 on the night, while also holding a slim 51-50 edge in rebounds. Buffalo had the slight edge in the battle in the paint 44-42, outscored the Chippewas 22-14 in the fast-break category and

Buffalo travels to Northern Illinois on Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest with the Huskies.