Cierra Dillard scored 22 of her game high 30 points in the second half to power the UB women’s basketball team to the Mid-American Conference championship for the second straight year with an 82-77 upset victory over No. 1 seed Central Michigan on Friday.
Dillard, who was just 2-for-12 and 0-for-4 from beyond the arc in the first half, turned things on offensively in the second half, hitting seven of her 12 attempts. Her lone 3-pointer would come late in the fourth quarter to give the Bulls a 71-70 lead.
Trailing 36-32 in the third quarter, the Bulls used a 27-10 run to open up a 59-46 advantage in the third. They would take a 61-53 lead into the fourth quarter before Central Michigan answered back.
The Chippewas came out firing, using a 17-4 run to take a 70-66 lead in the fourth.
But, it would be the Bulls landing the final haymaker with a 13-5 run, which included a clutch 3-pointer from sophomore guard Hanna Hall with 1:33 left to play to give Buffalo a 77-73 lead.
Hall scored all 10 of her points in the second half and was perfect from the floor going 3-for-3, which included two 3-pointers. She also hit both of her free throws.
While Dillard struggled in the first half, Summer Hemphill shouldered the load for UB, scoring 10 of her 24 in the first 20 minutes. She was also a major factor defensively, helping disrupt CMU’s star sharp-shooter Presley Hudson, who was held to just 10 points.
Heading into the semifinal matchup, Hudson was averaging 20.8 point per game and averaging nearly four 3-pointers per contest.
UB will now face off against Ohio or Miami in the title game Saturday morning. Tip-off is schedule for 11 a.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.