AUSTIN MILLER | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler women’s basketball team seeks its first victory of the season tonight after beginning the season with a pair of losses. Its pursuit begins tonight with a home matchup against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The Bulldogs will also travel to face Fairfield University on Saturday.
The injury bug has hit the team hard in the last few weeks, as leading returning scorer Ijeoma Uchendu suffered a concussion in the opener against Valparaiso University, she is evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Head coach Kurt Godlevske said she will not be available for Wednesday’s matchup with Chattanooga.
Freshman Nicole Orr suffered a stress fracture in her foot against Valparaiso and will remain out for the next two to four weeks.
Guards Lexus Murry and Loryn Goodwin continue to serve a suspension for a violation of team policy and Godlevske has said there is no timetable for their return.
The limited availability has made it difficult in the early-going for a team that already started the season behind the eight ball.
“It is difficult,” Godlevske said, “because it changes everything that we have been working on for the last five weeks and it has changed our defensive preparations. But I think they did a nice job [against Indiana State University] of moving forward on one day’s prep.”
The players said playing undermanned should not be a problem moving forward.
“At this point we realize that we just have to keep moving and playing our own game,” said sophomore guard Serena Sandusky.
However, the past weekend did come with some positives. For instance, the Bulldogs played Indiana State within one point after halftime Sunday.
“I think the biggest thing is in the second half. We competed much better and were coachable,” Godlevske said. “I think they are also seeing that, when we do things the right way, we can be competitive out there.”
The players also noticed the difference from game to game. The Bulldogs tallied seven assists in the second half against Indiana State versus just two in the first half.
“We improved tremendously from the first game to the second,” freshman guard Sydney Buck said. “We are sharing the ball better and playing hard for the full game.”
Both opponents the Bulldogs face this week played in the postseason last year, giving them a good opportunity to see where they stand against solid competition. Chattanooga is coming off of a stellar 2013-14 campaign which saw them go 29-4 and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. Fairfield played in last season’s Women’s Basketball Invitational.
“It is a measuring stick for us,” Buck said. “But the biggest thing is still building and getting ready for conference play.”
Godlevske also said the losses may have given the team a chance to find its strengths in order to help it this week and for the rest of the season.
“I think one of the things you saw on Sunday was a difference in our attacking the basket,” he said. “We have found that we are comfortable going off the dribble and we have got to use that moving forward.
Tip-off between Butler and Chattanooga is scheduled for 7 p.m. this evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse.