It's not often Mid-American Conference teams get NCAA tournament at-large bids, but Buffalo did -- and the Bulls proved they deserved it.
Just as their men's team did, Buffalo's women pulled off a first-round upset. No. 11 seed Buffalo defeated No. 6 seed South Florida 102-79 on Saturday. Buffalo became the second MAC team of the day to get an upset victory: League tournament champ Central Michigan, also a No. 11 seed, beat No. 6 LSU 78-69 earlier.
It is the first time the MAC has had two teams in the tournament since 1996, and that was also the last time the league had two teams advance to the second round. Then, it was Kent State and Toledo, which were both No. 10 seeds that season.
Buffalo's men beat No. 4 seed Arizona 89-68 on Thursday; that was the program's first NCAA tournament victory, a feat matched by the Buffalo women Saturday.
Buffalo's women went 16-2 in MAC East this season, while Central Michigan went 17-1 in the MAC West. The Chippewas won the MAC tournament final over the Bulls 96-91.
How it was won: Buffalo's 102 points were the most scored by a double-digit seed in NCAA tournament history. Many thought that South Florida was under-seeded, but this game showed that statement might have been more true of Buffalo. In a battle of the Bulls, it was Buffalo that proved more resilient. South Florida led 20-11 after one quarter, but then the Buffalo offense took over in the second quarter, outscoring South Florida 32-18. Buffalo was able to hold on and extend the lead in the second half. Buffalo's success was both from behind the arc -- where the team was 14-of-27 -- and in attacking the rim.
Player of the game: Buffalo junior guard Cierra Dillard, in her first season playing for the Bulls after transferring from UMass, was terrific. She finished with 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the line. She also had six rebounds.
Stat of the game: Along with Buffalo's 3-point success, the Bulls also prevailed at the line, where they were 22-of-24 compared to South Florida's 8-of-9.
What's next: Buffalo (28-5) faces No. 3 seed Florida State (26-6) in the second round on Monday in Tallahassee, Florida. South Florida finished its season 26-8.