KNOXVILLE, TN (WKBW) — The UB women's basketball team is ready to show the world what Buffalo basketball is all about.
"We do want to put on not only for Buffalo but also for mid-majors," UB forward Summer Hemphill said. "We want to show we do deserve to be in this Tournament and be recognized."
The Bulls, a 13th seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, will be played no. 4 Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville. It'll be their second SEC opponent this season after losing to South Carolina earlier in the season by a 88-60 score. A lot of time has passed since the Bulls played the Gamecocks and they can take a lot away from that matchup and performance.
"We were still trying to feel each other about and what we're good at," Hemphill said. "That game showed us a lot and the growth we've had throughout the season. That game was nothing to hang our head about. It's a team effort and everything we've needed to work on, we've already touched upon it."
"The way we played against them, it showed that this team I'm a part of can compete with any team in the country," added UB forward Dyaisha Fair.
UB knows it has its work cut out for them on Saturday, but they also know what they're capable of as a program and as a team. The Bulls enter Saturday's game riding a nine-game win streak and are winners of 14 of their last 15 games. They rank 22nd in the nation in rebounding and 17th in the nation in scoring.
"It's a feeling you get. It's something you can't describe. Excitement, enthusiasm, a purpose for breathing. We're so thrilled to be here and humbled by this opportunity," head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. "Every single March has been the most important month of the year. My birthday's in September and for some reason, I get more excited about March.
The Bulls are led by Fair, who is one of the top scorers in the nation, along with Hemphill who became the program's all-time leading rebounder during the regular season. This is Hemphill's third trip to an NCAA Tournament and has that veteran presence that the rest of the team needs when entering such an important game and weekend.
"Her having the experience that she has, it's been a tremendous thing," Fair said. "There's nothing like having a vet, a true vet, on your team."
"The questions that they asked during the MAC Tournament and the answers I provided allowed us to be successful," Hemphill added. "They've been asking away recently so hopefully that leads to more victories."
The Bulls and Vols will tip off Saturday at 3 p.m. on 7ABC. The winner will advance to Monday's 2nd round.