Senior guard Kendall Wingler enters her third season at Butler. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.
DAVID JACOBS | SPORTS REPORTER | email@example.com
The midday matchup gave Butler a challenging test against the 2022-23 Big 12 champions. Senior guard Caroline Strande was a bright spot on the court, pacing the Bulldogs with a team-leading 17 points and seven rebounds. She also logged three assists and two steals in the losing effort.
Butler was able to make it close at times, including a one point deficit with 7:38 to play in the 3rd quarter, but just fell apart after that. The talent gap between them and Iowa State is not nearly as much as the score may make it appear to be.
As previously mentioned, Strande put on a show. Her stat line was impressive, and she was the most efficient player on the court shooting 6-11 from the field and 1-2 from deep. Alongside Strande, senior wing Rachel Kent impressed in her Butler debut.
The IUPUI transfer put up nine points, three rebounds and a team-leading four assists. Although Kent was inefficient at 33% from the field, her energy and high motor helped pace the Bulldogs throughout the first half. Another positive for Butler was their ball control and on-ball defense. The Bulldogs were able to force 14 Iowa State turnovers compared to 11 of their own, they even logged six steals.
The post is where Butler ended up losing the game. With no true center on the team, and the tallest starter being junior forward Sydney Jaynes, controlling the post might be an uphill battle for Butler all year. Iowa State junior center Isnelle Natabou took advantage of the height mismatch for the Cyclones, logging 14 points and seven rebounds.
Former Butler forward senior Nyamier Diew dropped game highs of 19 points and nine rebounds for Iowa State. Overall, Butler got out rebounded 48-27 and was on the wrong side of four Iowa State blocks.
Butler had three players above 6’2” coming off the bench with first-years Cristen Carter, Riley Makalusky and sophomore Lilly Stoddard. However, as underclassmen, limiting them against an Iowa State team with a rotation of upperclassmen all above 6’2” was probably for the best.
Despite the lack of post play, the ugliest part of this loss was simply the inefficiency of the whole team. Butler shot an abysmal 33% from the field and 21% from deep, but at the end of the day a lot of these misses were still good looks.
There were no low-value shots taken or overly contested jump shots. Head coach Austin Parkinson drew up some incredible plays, especially coming out of halftime to get Strande open looks at the basket and sophomore guard Jordan Meulemans space to launch them from deep. At the end of the day, if over 50% of the shot attempts are going to be three pointers, you need to knock them down as an undersized team.
Butler is back in action against Detroit Mercy at Hinkle on Sunday, Nov. 12 which starts a three game home stint which will also include match ups against Austin Peay and Roosevelt. It will not be until Dec. 3 that Butler will take on another Power 5 program when they travel to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers.