UB Women Ready for Sweet 16 Matchup

Squad looks to upset defending national champions on Saturday

Mike Baggerman
March 23, 2018 - 3:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – There’s plenty of excitement for the community as the University at Buffalo’s Women’s Basketball Team prepares for their biggest challenge yet this Saturday.

The Bulls battle the defending national champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks, in the Sweet 16 matchup. Buffalo, entering the NCAA Tournament as the No. 11 seed, first upset sixth-ranked South Florida, clobbering them 102-79. Then, the Bulls again dominated third-ranked Florida State 86-65 on Monday.

“It’s been amazing to watch,” Louie Spina, the university’s assistant director of communications, told WBEN. “I just sit there and I’m in awe because I knew this team was very talented all season long. We never really saw them get to this level and for them to do it on the biggest stage I’m sure it has to make Coach (Felisha Legette) Jack proud.

WATCH: UB Women Lauded as they leave for Albany

UB went 26-4 during the regular season and were defeated in the MAC Championship by Central Michigan. The Bulls entered the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. Central Michigan has also upset their first two opponents in the tournament, too, and play Ohio State this Saturday, too.

“There was still areas (the Bulls) could have improved on,” Spina said. “The defense wasn’t up to snuff like Coach Jack wanted it and in the first two NCAA games, the defense is what lead us to victory. You could look at the 102 points put up against (South Florida) and say the offense was great but defense leads to offense and this defense has really stepped up.”

As the Bulls left the campus on Wednesday, they were showered with adulation from the crowd.

“The players are loving this,” Spina said. “All season long they were getting a little attention, even though they were winning. They weren’t getting as much as they would have hoped. Now that they’ve won a couple of games, everybody in the Buffalo community is reaching out.”

He said the players Facebook and Instagram accounts have been blowing up with notifications.

“They’re still staying level-headed, though,” he added. “They’re doing the same thing they’ve been doing all year: Having fun and staying focused.”

Spina said a win over the defending national champions will help with everything from recruiting, student enrollment, finances, and exposure.

If you ask the Bulls team their perspective of going up against the defending national champions, Coach Jack explained how the team looks at it.

“Is it something to be afraid of?” Jack said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’re too silly and quirky to be afraid. We just want to find out. We just want our story to be on the biggest stage and against the biggest team. We go forward.”

UB and South Carolina square off at 11:30 a.m.

Catch the game on ESPN 1520 in Buffalo. The winner of the game will take on the winner of Duke/UConn on Monday.

LISTEN: Louie Spina, Assistant Director of Communications for University at Buffalo


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