12 Teams/12 Days: Buffalo Bulls

Updated 10/28/2013


2013-14 Buffalo Bulls Women's Basketball Season Preview
Courtesy of Buffalo Athletic Communications
Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack brought a full-scale change to the Buffalo women’s basketball team in her first season, and the team is prepared now to take yet another step forward in the 2013-14 season. Returning to the team will be eight letterwinners, and six newcomers will not only push the returners for playing time, but will at the very least provide crucial depth for a team that looks to push ahead after making the quarterfinal round of the 2013 MAC tournament.
Margeaux Gupilan returns for her final season with the Bulls, and is coming off a career year. She moved away from an every-day role as the team’s starting point guard, but despite that became an even more adept floor general. She averaged over four assists per game, and added in 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds as well.
Cherridy Thornton joined the team ten games into the season after transferring from Detroit, and was able to provide a critical scoring option for the team. Making seven starts and playing in 22 games total, Thornton averaged 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Now with game experience under her belt, Thornton is primed to have a solid senior season.
As any fan who saw the duo in the MAC tournament, 2013-14 could be a breakout season for frontcourt teammates Christa Baccas and Kristen Sharkey. Baccas began to assert herself as an option for the offense, and it paid off to the tune of 7.5 points per game to set a new career high. She also added in 8.9 rebounds and 88 blocks, an eye-popping number that is among the best ever for a single season at UB.
Sharkey scored a career-high 26 points in the team’s heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to Akron, and provided an edge the team missed from her in the season prior thanks to her season-ending knee injury. A threat to post a double double every night, Sharkey averaged 8.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season.
Sloane Walton was arguably the biggest breakout performer for the team last season. After scoring just six points as a freshman, she became the team’s leading three-point specialist, and averaged five points per game. Also an underrated rebounder, she gained confidence game-by-game and enters her junior year with a whole new mindset and a new-found role.
This season’s sophomore class might be one of the very best in the conference, and all three come into year two even more motivated. Mackenzie Loesing was a member of the MAC’s All-Freshman team, and on any given night she would threaten to take over a game. She led the team with 11.6 points per game, the most averaged by a freshman since the 1988-89 season. Added to that, she put up a pair of steals and 3.7 rebounds per game and finished the season with eight double-digit scoring games over the final nine games.
Karin Moss won over fans quickly at Alumni Arena with her tenacious defense and her penchant for hitting making big three pointers. The diminutive guard used her speed and unique defensive abilities to harass opposing guards all the way down the court, and she added in 4.4 points per game and a 36 percent success rate from three to make her a valued role player.
Seemingly lost in the mix was Rachael Gregory, who seemed to fit into Coach Jack’s system right away and was an early MAC Freshman of the Year threat before suffering a knee injury 17 games into the season. Despite having a guard’s physique, Gregory had the mindset of a power post, averaging 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds. Not afraid to initiate contact, she also averaged just under six trips to the foul line per game. With a healthy knee and an improved jump shot, Gregory can skip all the All-Freshman snubs and instead compete for player of the year honors.
Added to the mix will be six new members of the team, who have brought in wide-ranging skill sets to the team. Jenna Rickan joins the team as a graduate student after earning her bachelor’s degree while playing soccer for Syracuse University. She played high school basketball just down the road for Kenmore West High School.
Ayana Bradley is a junior college transfer who most recently competed for the Monroe Community College women’s basketball team, one of the top junior college programs in the region. She averaged a double-double per game for the Tribunes, and led the team to a District championship in 2012.
Four true freshmen will also don the Blue and White for the first time this season, with each hoping to mirror the instant impact that 2012 rookies Mackenzie Loesing, Rachael Gregory and Karin Moss had on the team.
Alexus Malone is a forward who comes from Mississippi, playing for Oxford High School. She averaged 20 points, ten rebounds, five steals and three assists per game as a senior, and has the versatility to play at multiple positions in the college game. Joining Malone on the post will be Nia Roberts, who served as captain for three seasons at Norland high school in Miami, FL. As a senior, she led the Vikings to a 28-4 record and was named the Miami-Dade Player of the Year.
The team also brings in a pair of athletic freshmen guards in Joanna Smith and Camera Miley. Smith guided her Southaven High School squad to a top-10 ranking in the state of Mississippi, and she was selected to play in the North vs. South All-Star game. Miley averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game as a senior at Midwood high school in Brooklyn, NY.
The coaching staff returns all but one member, and welcome in former floor general Ashley Zuber as the newest member on the bench. Zuber, who graduated from Buffalo in 2011, will serve as not only a valuable instructor for the team’s guards, but she will use her educational background in exercise science to help take the team’s fitness to another level. Returning to the bench from their UB debuts in 2012 are Bernitha Johnson and Kourtney Brown, who made immediate impacts in their first seasons on the staff last year.
This season, the team will play a schedule that features plenty of action for a young group that finished last season full of hunger and on a high note after the conference tournament. First up will be a non-conference schedule featuring eight rematches from last season, and seven road games to prepare the team to reach new heights in year two of the Felisha Legette-Jack era.
2012-13 Record 12-20, 8-8 MAC (3rd/East)  
2013 Postseason MAC Tournament Third Round  
Starters Returning/Lost 4/1  
Letterwinners Returning/Lost 8/5  
Newcomers 6  
University Quick Facts    
Founded 1846  
Location Buffalo, New York  
Enrollment 29,937  
Nickname Bulls  
Mascot Victor E Bull  
Colors Royal Blue and White  
President Dr. Satish K. Tripathi  
Athletics Director Daniel J. White  
Senior Woman Administrator Kathy Twist  
Faculty Representative Jim Atwood  
Conference Mid-American Conference/East  
Arena (Capacity) Alumni Arena (6,100)  
Press Row 716-645-3360  
Website www.buffalobulls.com  
Women’s Basketball Quick Facts    
Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack  
Alma Mater Syracuse ‘89  
Record at Buffalo 12-20 (Second Season)  
Career Record 153-183 (12th Season)  
MAC Record 8-8   
Assistant Coach Bernitha Johnson  
Alma Mater Tennessee ‘05  
Assistant Coach Kourtney Brown  
Alma Mater Buffalo ‘11  
Assistant Coach Ashley Zuber  
Alma Mater Buffalo ‘11  
Director of Basketball Operations Paja Grasevova  
Alma Mater Canisius ‘03  
Program History    
First Year of Women’s Basketball (D1) 1966-67 (1991-92)  
All-Time Record (D1) 542-545 (315-324)   
Overall Record Since Joining MAC (Years) 176-264 (16th Season)  
All-Time MAC Record 87-153  
NCAA Championship Appearances None  
NCAA Championship Record N/A  
WNIT Appearances None     
WNIT Record N/A  
MAC Tournament Titles None  
MAC Regular Season Titles None  
MAC Divisional Titles None  
MAC Players of the Year (Most Recent) One (Kourtney Brown, 2011)  
MAC Freshmen of the Year (Most Recent) One (Heather Turner, 2005)  
MAC Coaches of Year (Most Recent) None  
Defensive Players of the Year (Most Recent) Three (Kourtney Brown, 2011)  
Sixth-Player Award (Most Recent) None  
2013-2014 Schedule    
Tue., Oct. 29 Mansfield (Exh.)  7:00 PM
Sat., Nov. 2 Buffalo State (Exh.)  2:00 PM
Fri., Nov. 8 at Binghamton  5:30 PM
Wed., Nov. 13 at Youngstown State  7:05 PM
Sat., Nov. 16 Cornell  12:30 PM
Wed., Nov. 20 at Duquesne  11:00 AM
Wed., Nov. 27 Canisius  7:00 PM
Sun., Dec. 1 at Pittsburgh  2:00 PM
Wed., Dec. 4 St. Francis (Pa.)  7:00 PM
Sat., Dec. 7 at Siena  2:00 PM
Tue., Dec. 17 at St. Bonaventure  7:00 PM
Sat., Dec. 21 at Niagara  1:00 PM
Wed., Jan. 1 Roberts Wesleyan  2:00 PM
Sat., Jan. 4 at Bowling Green *  2:00 PM
Tue., Jan. 7 at Western Michigan *  7:00 PM
Sun., Jan. 12 Central Michigan *  2:00 PM
Wed., Jan. 15 Toledo *  7:00 PM
Sat., Jan. 18 Eastern Michigan *  12:00 PM
Thu., Jan. 23 at Northern Illinois *  7:00 PM
Sun., Jan. 26 at Ball State *  1:00 PM
Thu., Jan. 30 Miami (OH) *  7:00 PM
Sun., Feb. 2 at Akron *  2:00 PM
Thu., Feb. 6 Ohio *  12:00 PM
Sun., Feb. 9 at Central Michigan *  2:00 PM
Sat., Feb. 15 Northern Illinois *  12:00 PM
Wed., Feb. 19 at Kent State *  7:00 PM
Sat., Feb. 22 Bowling Green *  2:00 PM
Thu., Feb. 27 at Ohio *  7:00 PM
Sat., Mar. 1 at Miami (OH) *  2:00 PM
Wed., Mar. 5 Akron *  7:00 PM
Sat., Mar. 8 Kent State *  12:00 PM
Mon., Mar. 10 MAC Tournament First Round $ TBA
Wed., Mar. 12  MAC Tournament Second Round %  TBA
Thurs., Mar. 13 MAC Tournament Third Round % TBA
Fri., Mar. 14 MAC Tournament Semilfinals % TBA
Sat., Mar. 15 MAC Championship% TBA
All Times EST and subject to change    
* Denotes Mid-American Conference Game    
$ Hosted By Seeds 5, 6, 7, 8    
% at Cleveland, Ohio (Quicken Loans Arena)