Overcoming the Governors: Beyond the Box Score

Senior guard Caroline Strande has averaged 16.3 points this season. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.

SAWYER GOLDWEIN | SPORTS REPORTER | sgoldwein@butler.edu

The Bulldogs got in the win column for the second time this season with a 53-47 victory over the Austin Peay Governors. Butler moved to 2-0 this season at Hinkle Fieldhouse with the win. It was not an easy victory for the Dawgs, as they trailed for the entire first half. The third quarter was a big boost, though, with Butler going on a 17-1 run during the frame. The game’s only lead change took place during the Bulldogs’ spurt, as senior guard Caroline Strande completed an and one to put Butler in front.

Strande’s standout season

Strande was the Dawgs’ star player against the Governors, which is starting to become a routine. After making 11 starts last season in her first year as a Bulldog, Strande not only earned a starting job to begin the 2023-24 campaign, but she has thrived in the role. 

She is averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game, including a career-high 21 against Austin Peay. Strande has also separated herself as the best rebounder on the team, despite standing at just 5’11”. The Racine, Wisconsin native has pulled down seven boards in each of Butler’s three games this season. 

Strande was incredibly valuable for the Bulldogs, especially in the second half. She was the only Dawg to reach double figures in scoring for the game, doing so largely by drawing contact and going nine of 12 from the free throw line. 

If the matchup against the Governors is any indication, the breakout Bulldog will have to keep up her strong performances if Butler is going to continue winning the games they are expected to win.

First years flourish

While Strande was the dominant Dawg, head coach Austin Parkinson’s newest class of first years were also key in the Butler win.

First-year guard Karsyn Norman saw the floor early and often, logging 18 minutes of playing time. Her services were extremely useful in what turned out to be an up-and-down, often frenetically paced game. Austin Peay’s guards — especially graduate guard Sandra Lin — looked to push the ball all game long. Norman’s ball handling, defense and speed helped Butler keep up with the Govs. 

Norman finished with six points, two rebounds and one assist.

First-year forward Cristen Carter also came up huge for the Bulldogs, looking like the best post player on the floor for nearly her entire 10 minutes of play. She scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the contest, providing the Dawgs a much needed spark. 

Shooting struggles

Carter was an efficient two for three from the field, but Butler shot the ball poorly, as they have for the better part of the beginning of the season. 

The Dawgs shot 33% against Austin Peay, their second time shooting at that rate this year. They also went just 27% from beyond the arc, which is actually slightly better than the 25% clip they have averaged this season.

Butler can get away with those numbers and still pull out wins when playing against mid-major schools, but the lid is going to have to come off the basket before conference play begins if the Dawgs are going to be competitive in the Big East.

Fortunately, there is no reason to panic yet. Butler still has seven more games before Big East play begins, including four more before they see a power conference opponent in Wisconsin.

The Dawgs now face a quick turnaround as they return to Hinkle on Monday, Nov. 20 for an 11 a.m. tip off against Roosevelt University.


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