Buffalo's Cierra Dillard is espnW's player of the week

Buffalo senior Cierra Dillard is the espnW player of the week after scoring a program-best 43 points in an overtime win Wednesday. Buffalo Athletics

Editor's note: Charlie Creme, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel each vote to determine espnW's national player of the week, which is awarded every week of the women's college basketball season.

Cierra Dillard put on a show last postseason, leading Buffalo to the Sweet 16. And the guard is still lighting up the scoreboard for the Bulls.

Dillard scored a school-record 43 points and added five rebounds and five assists Wednesday in leading Buffalo over Eastern Michigan 91-84 in overtime. The game was a display of great guard play, as Dillard's counterpart for Eastern Michigan, Danielle Minott, also scored -- believe it or not -- 43 points.

Then Saturday in a 66-59 victory at Miami (Ohio), Dillard had 26 points, five rebounds and 10 assists. Those back-to-back performances earned the 5-foot-9 senior espnW national player of the week honors.

In Wednesday's victory, Dillard went 14-of-24 from the field and 11-of-16 from the foul line. Saturday, she was 8-of-22 and 10-of-12. For the season, Dillard is averaging 25.9 points per game, tied with Iowa senior post player Megan Gustafson in leading Division I in scoring.

A native of Rochester, New York, Dillard spent her first two seasons at Massachusetts, then sat out as a transfer in 2016-17. But it was worth the wait: She led the way in Buffalo's breakthrough season, as the Bulls won their NCAA tournament game in 2018.

Buffalo got into the NCAA field as a No. 11 seed with an at-large berth after losing in the MAC tournament final to Central Michigan. The Bulls proved the selection committee right with their run to the regional semifinals. Dillard had games of 36, 22 and 29 points, respectively, as the Bulls beat South Florida and Florida State before losing to South Carolina.

Buffalo came into this season as the favorite in the MAC East. The Bulls (10-4 overall) have losses to Pac-12 powers Oregon and Stanford. They are off to a 2-1 start in conference play. They lost their MAC opener at home to Ohio on Jan. 5 in overtime, but got back on track with their two road victories this past week, led by Dillard.

Also nominated: Bre Cavanaugh, Fordham; Reyna Frost, Central Michigan; Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette; Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse; Aari McDonald, Arizona; Satou Sabally, Oregon; Alanna Smith, Stanford

Previous winners: Kristine Anigwe, Cal (Nov. 12) | Kierra Anthony, Louisiana Tech (Nov. 19) | Jackie Young, Notre Dame (Nov. 26) | Christyn Williams, UConn (Dec. 3) | Jenna Allen, Michigan State (Dec. 10) | Alanna Smith, Stanford (Dec. 17) | Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (Dec. 24) | Katie Benzan, Harvard (Dec. 31) | Kalani Brown, Baylor (Jan. 7)