Out of nearly 400 Division I women’s basketball teams in the country, the UB Women’s Basketball team is one of only 16 still dancing in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulls took out 3-seed Florida State University on FSU’s home court Monday night, securing the UB Women’s Basketball team’s place in the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
Fresh off that historic win, the Bulls flew home to Western New York to regroup before Saturday’s game against defending national champions South Carolina in Albany.
News 4 was at Prior Aviation with the Bulls’ plane touched down.
“We really want to put Buffalo on the map and I think we’ve done a really great job of doing that this year,” said UB Point Guard Stephanie Reid before getting on a bus to leave the air field.
Coach Felisha Legette-Jack told News 4 she was grateful to be part of the group right now, and that she’s grateful for the buy-in from her players who believed in her, in her vision, and in themselves. “Coming from a situation where I was, where I didn’t have a job and Buffalo gave me an opportunity, I had to find players that wanted to play here and to win,” she said.
This team has won. A lot. The Lady Bulls boast one of the best resumes in the country from the regular season, earning them the first at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament in UB Women’s Basketball history.
This year marks their second-ever Tournament appearance.
Coach Jack and Stephanie Reid both told News 4 the team has been working hard since June to get to this point. They both also emphasized the tight bond among team members that they say has helped fuel their victories, including the win over FSU Monday. “It was a missed shot, it was an air ball, it was like, ‘Oh my God,’ head drop, but somebody would come out of the blue and get the rebound and get back in,” Coach Jack recalled. “That’s called I got your back, and we’ve got each other’s back and I’m so humbled and grateful.”
“We’ve just grown together so much,” Reid said. “We’ve been a team that’s traveled a lot on the road this season, and I think being away and being together all the time has brought us closer, and that really comes out on the court. We’re just sisters. We honestly are, and it’s through the tough times and the good, we’re together and we’re a family. And we take pride in that.”
Members of the UB community who were on the North Campus Tuesday morning told News 4 they noticed the connection between the players during the game Monday night.
“It was a wonderful bond,” said UB Dean of Students Gretchen Smith. “And we’re hoping that they keep going and they keep winning.”
“My message is you’ve got to give it all you’ve got. Go for it. You’ve got this, girls!” she added.
Although UB’s campuses are relatively quiet this week, with many students away on Spring Recess, the people who are there are showing their support for the Lady Bulls, telling News 4 they’re excited to see what the team does next.
“We’re going to be number one this year,” predicted Theresa Betz, who works in the Student Health Center on UB’s South Campus. “They’re a wonderful team. The coach is great.”
“Horns up, girls!” she added.