UB’s rise in Women’s NCAA College basketball was not taken into consideration by NCAA Steering committee. The committee placed a UB women’s team that won the MAC Championship into a bracket with perennial powerhouse UConn. They even had to play UCONN on their own home court. I would have given a team that made the Sweet 16 last season more respect and placed them in another Region. You must play the games put in front of you and UB’s head Coach Felisha Legette—Jack had her Lady Bulls ready for both games. The nation’s second leading scorer Cierra Dillard had 20 pts while Summer Hemphill led the way with 23 points. In defeating Rutgers 82-71 the Lady Bulls played outstanding defense in holding the Scarlet Knights to only 10 points in the 4th quarter. This win set the stage for a matchup with powerhouse UCONN Huskies.
Once again Head Coach Legette- Jack had her team well prepared for the game. The Bulls got off to a slow start but stepped its game up once Coach Legette—Jack moved Cierra Dillard to point guard and finally was able to get into its offense. The Lady Bulls played with intense pressure on the Huskies and were able to outscore them 17 to 11 in the 4th quarter. Even through the Lady Bulls lost to UCONN 84 – 72; they played with confidence and challenged UCONN on the boards and forced them to make several errors and a cold shooting span of over 3 minutes. Cierra Dillard came back from a severe ankle sprain which left her hobbling through the last five minutes of the game. She still was able to score 5 points and assist on key plays down the stretch. Cierra ended up with 29 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists to end a stellar career at UB. We witnessed the final game of the greatest women basketball player in UB’s history . Cierra said, “I didn’t go to the locker room. I knew if I went to the locker room, I wasn’t coming back out and I’m not that type of player. My team’s down. My team needs me. I’m coming back out. I don’t care if I have to hop on one leg…”
What a competitor and an excellent student athlete who left it ALL out on the floor for her team! Cierra Dillard will be a top pick in the upcoming WNBA draft next month and quite possibly be the number one overall pick of the draft. In an era of one and done college athletes, it’s so heartfelt and rewarding to see a player like Cierra Dillard come back for her senior season and earn a MAC Championship and ending her college career with such a gutty performance that will be remembered for quite some time in Western New York.