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Randy Carpenter

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#2 Buffalo secures NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament bid with 79-75 victory over #5 Ball State

Bulls guards dominate, especially in the fourth quarter, to put Buffalo in the Big Dance and give UB its third MAC tournament championship since 2016.

The #2 Buffalo Bulls defeated the #5 Ball State Cardinals, 79-75 to claim the 2022 MAC Women’s Basketball Championship at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday afternoon. This was the third MAC Championship for the Bulls since 2016, and their fourth championship game appearance, with their last win in 2019.

The Bulls guard combo of Dyaisha Fair and Georgia Woolley literally carried the team in this game. Fair had 19 points in the first half alone, as the Bulls held a slim 38-37 advantage at the break. The Cardinals used three-point shooting to stay with the Bulls in that opening half.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair, and the Bulls took a 53-50 lead into the fourth quarter. The Cardinals would tie the game at 53-53 on a three pointer from Thelma Dis Austdottir. But it would prove to be their last hurrah, because Fair and Woolley would take over from that point on. Woolley immediately hit a three-pointer to answer the Cardinal run, and Fair hit two free throws to put the Bulls back up again at 58-53 with 8:02 to play. The Bulls took their biggest lead of the game, 71-63 with just 3:34 to play.

The Cardinals didn’t quit, getting back to within 75-53 with :30 to play. Woolley hit four free throws down the stretch to secure the win for the Bulls. Amazingly, the two guards scored all 26 points that Bulls scored in the fourth quarter. Fair was named Tournament Most Valuable Player and finished with 30 points, six assists, three steals and two rebounds. Woolley was also named to the MAC All-Tournament Team and ended up with 29 points and four rebounds. The combo was responsible for 59 of the Bulls’ 79 points.

The Cardinals were led in scoring by Dis Agustsdottir and Ally Becki with 20 points each. Freshman Becki also added nine rebounds, seven assists, two steal and a block. She was also named to the MAC All-Tournament Team.

The Bulls improve to 25-8 on the season and will find out who their first-round opponent will be in the NCAA Tournament on Monday. The Cardinals drop to 20-12 and will wait to see if they’ll play in the postseason.

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