Senior guard Caroline Strande gets back on defense in Butler’s exhibition game against Franklin College. Photo by Makenna Frias.
SAWYER GOLDWEIN | SPORTS REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
The women’s basketball team will have a chance to get in the win column when they play host to Detroit Mercy on Nov. 12. The Bulldogs are coming off of an 82-55 road loss to Iowa State, and undoubtedly hope to get back on track in their home opener.
Here’s what you need to know before Butler faces off with the Detroit Mercy Titans.
Who: Detroit Mercy at Butler
When: Nov. 12, 5:00 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
How to watch: FloHoops
A rough opener
Butler headed to Ames, Iowa for their season opener on Nov. 6, falling to Iowa State. The Dawgs hung around with the Cyclones, using an 8-2 scoring run to cut the deficit to six heading into halftime.
The second half was another story. Iowa State stretched their lead to 15 after the third quarter, and continued to roll in the final frame, finishing with a 27 point victory over the Bulldogs.
Senior guard Caroline Strande was a standout for Butler, leading the team in both points with 17 and rebounds with seven. The performance may signify the beginning of a breakout season for Strande, who was the Dawgs’ leading scorer in their exhibition game against Franklin as well.
Graduate wing Rachel Kent added nine points and a team-high four assists in her first regular season game as a Bulldog.
Butler struggled shooting the ball, going just 33% from the field and 21% from long range as a team. They also had trouble dealing with the Cyclones’ size, surrendering 42 points in the paint.
Former Bulldog forward Nyamer Diew led Iowa State in scoring with 19 points.
A loss certainly was not how the Dawgs wanted to start their season, but their schedule will now lighten up, giving them plenty of chances to regroup. Butler will play exclusively low-major and mid-major programs for the next six games. Four of those six matchups will be at home.
Scouting the Titans
The Titans finished with a 5-25 record last season, including a 1-15 clip on the road.
Detroit Mercy is 2-0 so far, coming off an 83-48 home win against Chicago State on Nov. 10.
The Titans return seven players from last year’s roster. The most notable of those players is senior forward Irene Murua, who was named to the 2023-24 preseason All-Horizon League Second Team. Murua started every game for Detroit Mercy during the 2022-23 season — leading the team in scoring, offensive rebounds and steals.
The rest of Detroit Mercy’s starting lineup will be back as well, including their second-leading scorer, graduate guard Imani McNeal, as well as junior forward Emma Trawally Porta, who ranked 18th in the nation last season with 2.2 blocked shots per game. The Titans also boast Amaya Burch, a 2022-23 Horizon League All-Freshman selection at guard.
While the Detroit Mercy interior players are not quite of the same caliber as Iowa State’s, they will still present a test for Butler. They averaged 38.7 rebounds per game during the 2022-23 campaign, compared to 31.5 for Butler. Sydney Jaynes, Lilly Stoddard and Cristen Carter, among others, will have to make a concerted effort on the glass.
Detroit Mercy also is not afraid to play physical and draw fouls. They shot 461 free throws last season, compared to Butler’s 380.
Butler is the heavy favorite in the matchup, but they will not be able to sleepwalk through their contest with a Titans squad that seems to be on the rise.