Buffalo hits game-winner in overtime as time expires
Chippewas fall just short of fourth MAC Tournament Championship
CLEVELAND — Another buzzer beater decided the Chippewas' fate on Saturday. But this time, it went against No. 2 Central Michigan.
Stephanie Reid hit an off-balance shot as time expired in overtime to give Buffalo the 73-71 overtime victory in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship. The eighth-seeded Bulls are the lowest seed to ever win the tournament.
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"We just wanted to keep them in front, contain them, put a hand up so they take a tough shot and that's what happened," said junior forward Jewel Cotton about the final shot. "(It) went in."
The Central Michigan women's basketball team took a late five-point lead, 60-55, with 6:52 to play in regulation. Buffalo followed with a 9-0 run, but Cotton scored four straight points to tie the game 64-64.
"Today was the first time that I felt like we panicked," said Head Coach Sue Guevara. "I thought with five minutes to go, we were like, uh-uh, we were in a hurry. It's like, you guys, slow down, it's OK."
After a UB miss, the Chippewas had the chance at a game-winner in regulation. Senior guard Da'Jourie Turner missed the shot as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
Buffalo hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half of the overtime, giving the Bulls a 70-67 lead. Sophomore guard Cassie Breen hit a mid-range jump shot to cut the deficit to 70-69 with 10.4 seconds to play.
After the Bulls hit one of two free throws, freshman guard Presley Hudson was fouled with 3.4 seconds to play, making both free throws to tie the game.
Head Coach Sue Guevara said games like this "break your heart."
"I told the team, I said 'You know what, if you want to feel like cow manure right now, you can, go ahead,'" she said. "'But understand what we did this year. No one expected us to be in this room today.'"
Hudson sits early
After playing all 40 minutes on Friday, Hudson took a seat on the bench in the first quarter after picking up two fouls in the opening 2:41. She sat for the final 6:55 of the quarter and did not play in the second quarter.
She had a season-low three first-half minutes, but started on the floor in the second half. Hudson finished with 10 points and three rebounds.
Hudson and Breen combined for 20 points Saturday, after combining for 43 on Saturday.
"I thought that they did a really nice job of switching on to (Breen), and not giving (Hudson) a lot of room," Guevara said. "I thought that we had a couple of wide open looks, (Hudson) shot an air ball (late in overtime)."
CMU was 4-of-16 from the 3-point line after hitting 15-of-27 on Friday.
Moore named to all-tournament team
Sophomore forward Tinara Moore was named to the all-tournament team following the loss Saturday. She had 18 points and six rebounds Saturday and had 57 points over the three games in the tournament.
Moore did not know she made the All-MAC team until the postgame press conference.
"Well, the reason we came here was to win, so I feel like we didn't win," she said. "I mean, I don't know what's the big deal being on the All-MAC team. I don't get a ring for that."
After Moore's comment, Guevara stood up, walked over to her player and gave her a hug.
"You get one of these. (Guevara hugs Moore.) Congratulations," Guevara said. "That's what you get."
Another slow start
On Wednesday, CMU trailed by as many as 15. Friday, they went down 13. Saturday was no different, as the Chippewas went down 11 points in the first quarter.
A 12-0 CMU run in the second quarter gave CMU the lead, although Buffalo hit a 3-pointer to finish the first half to give UB a 37-36 advantage going into the break. CMU took a 53-50 lead into the final quarter.
Holding onto the ball
CMU turned the ball over 16 times in the first meeting between the two teams, leading to a 67-61 loss at Buffalo Jan. 6. The Chippewas had ball-control issues in the first half Friday, as well, allowing five turnovers in the first quarter.
The Bulls had similar struggles, however, as Buffalo turned the ball over 11 times in the first half compared to CMU's eight. Buffalo ended with 16, while CMU had 15.
The Chippewas will wait for an invitation to a postseason tournament, while Buffalo will play in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week.
Guevara said she believes her squad will make the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
"We're not done playing," she said. "Let's do something that no women's basketball team has done in Central Michigan; let's win a game in the WNIT. Let's win a couple games."
The team will return to the practice courts this week to prepare for a postseason game.
"I told them when we come back into practice, 'You've accomplished too much, just way too much, but if you had to feel like caca, go ahead,'" she said. "On Monday when we come back into practice, I don't want to see anybody's heads down, I don't want to see oh, poor me. I don't want to see that because we still get to play and that's the best thing."
Stay with Central Michigan Life for more on today's MAC Championship Game