Senior guard Caroline Strande is averaging 14 points and seven rebounds per game. Photo by Makenna Frias.
DAVID JACOBS | SPORTS REPORTER | email@example.com
The women’s basketball team has a chance to earn a winning record through three games as they host Austin Peay on Nov. 18. The Bulldogs lay at 1-1 through two games and a win on Saturday will have them at a winning record through three games for the first time in four years.
Here is what you need to know before Butler faces off against Austin Peay.
Who: Butler vs. Austin Peay
When: Nov. 18, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
How to watch: FloHoops
A win is a win
Butler won their season home opener against Detroit Mercy on Nov. 12. The Dawgs got out to a 13-0 lead to start the game and held on to bring an 11 point lead into halftime, but a furious second half start for the Titans made it a tie ballgame midway through the third quarter before eventually taking the lead away from Butler.
Although the Dawgs were paced by senior forward Kendall Wingler with 18 points off the bench and another near double-double by senior guard Caroline Strande with 11 points and seven rebound, it took seven fourth quarter points by junior guard Ari Wiggins for the Dawgs to prevail for a 68-61 victory.
The Dawgs struggled with turnovers all game, accumulating 17 turnovers to pair with just nine assists, with Wiggins and sophomore wing Jordan Meulemans leading the way with two assists each.
Although a slim home win against a team picked 9th in the preseason Horizon League poll was not the ideal home opener, Butler was able to maintain a lead for nearly 38 minutes throughout the game and showed improvements.
Scouting the Governors
Austin Peay competes in the division one ASUN conference that consists of teams mainly in the southeast United States.
The Governors will be traveling from Clarksville, Tennessee which is a quick five hour trip along Interstate-69.
So far this season, the Governors have started 1-2 but there might not be a team with a more unique start to the year than pre-season ASUN third ranked team.
The Governors opened their season with a home loss to a division two Trevecca Nazarene, 75-59. They followed the unsuspected loss with a more respectable 57-52 home loss to reigning Southern Conference champions, Chattanooga.
The Governors would not stay in the loss column for long though, as they traveled to Georgetown, Kentucky on Nov. 14 to hand Kentucky their first loss of the season.
So, what type of Austin Peay team will show up at Hinkle Fieldhouse? It is hard to tell, but if they decide to travel with the same intensity they brought to Kentucky, the Dawgs might be in for another 40 minute battle.
The Governors are led by graduate center Shamarre Hale and sophomore guard Anala Nelson as the lone double digit point scorers on the team at 11.7 and 10 points per game, respectively. At just 5 ‘8”, Nelson also leads the team in rebounds with nearly seven a game while graduate guard Sandra Lin leads the team in assists with four per game.
Defensively, the Dawgs should be able to take advantage of a lackluster Austin Peay offense that averages just 59 points per game, nearly 18 turnovers a game and shoots just 26% from long range.
Through two games, Butler has been able to force 16 turnovers a game but have been allowing a 47% clip from long range to opponents. So, it would be quite the whiff of fresh air if the Governors continue their inefficient long range shooting during their visit to Hinkle.
Three keys to victory
- Shoot above 30% from three. Against Iowa State, the Dawgs shot just 21% from deep and just 30% against Detroit Mercy. Getting above that 30% threshold will make scoring easier on all three levels.
- Maintain a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. Against Iowa State, the Dawgs impressively had just 11 turnovers to their 13 assists, but against Detroit Mercy that shot up to 17 turnovers and just nine assists. Playing under control and within the pace of the game is a must for a shorter team that naturally will not be winning many rebounding battles.
- Strong second half start. Against Iowa State and Detroit Mercy, the Dawgs came out flat in the second half which resulted in the game slipping away from them. The outcome went the Dawgs’ way against Detroit Mercy, but against a good team like Iowa State the small deficit got out of hand quickly. Coming out strong in the second half is important no matter the opponent, but against an Austin Peay team that leaned on a strong third quarter in their win against Kentucky, it will be crucial.
With home court advantage, Butler is likely the favorite in this matchup, but they will need to come out ready to play.