Sophomore Sydney Jaynes drives the ball into the paint against a Bluejay defender on Jan. 14. Photo by Grace Hensley.
JIA SKRUDLAND | SPORTS REPORTER | email@example.com
The Butler women’s basketball team will make their way to Chicago to compete against the DePaul Blue Demons on Feb. 8. The two teams saw each other earlier in the season with DePaul taking a competitive 78-72 victory over Butler on Dec. 4. The Blue Demons are coming off a commanding 93-48 defeat over Xavier and will look to begin a win streak. The Bulldogs battled against a resilient No.19 team in the Villanova Wildcats but were unable to overcome the deficit with their all-in effort and dropped the game 78-58. Butler will look to even up the season series at 1-1 and avoid a season sweep by DePaul.
Here’s what you need to know before tip-off in the Windy City between Butler and DePaul.
Who: Butler at DePaul
When: Feb. 8, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Wintrust Arena; Chicago, Illinois
How to watch/listen: FloSports
Avoiding scoring droughts
In their last game against Villanova, Butler went several stretches without scoring any points, including a five-minute period where the Wildcats would score 14 points within that time frame. As of Feb. 7, DePaul leads the conference in offensive rebounding with 15.6 per game which provides them with extra chances to score. Butler will want to maximize their scoring by connecting on the open shots, driving to the basket and boxing out on defense. This will help prevent them from having to dig out of a hole.
Butler will have the height advantage against DePaul down low with sophomore Sydney Jaynes being two inches taller than any of the Blue Demons. The Dawgs will want to feed her down low, as well as junior Anna Mortag, to have the paint point advantage over DePaul. In their first meeting, both players scored in double digits and combined for 23 points which showcased their effectiveness.
Driving to the paint
To help offset scoring droughts, the Dawgs will want to drive to the basket taking shots inside the arc. Against Villanova, Butler succeeded more in two-point field goals with a 37% mark compared to shooting 29% from behind the arc. Butler has strong outside shooters in first-year Jordan Meulemans, junior Caroline Strande and graduate student Shay Frederick. In order to maximize scoring, the Dawgs will want to equalize both. If Butler continues to score inside the arc while limiting DePaul from three, the Bulldogs have a shot at taking the rematch and improving their seeding in the conference tournament.
DePaul will attempt to defend their home court against Butler. The Blue Demons currently sit at a 12-11 record and a 5-7 conference record. During the first meeting, Blue Demon sophomore Aneesah Morrow and junior Darrione Rogers combined for 53 points — more than half of DePaul’s total points. Butler should expect the ball to go to those two most of the time, as Morrow and Rogers lead the Blue Demons in scoring this season at 25.6 and 17.1 points per game, respectively. If the Bulldogs want to win on the road, they will have to prioritize defending one of them — preferably both — and forcing the ball out of their hands.