Bulldogs fight off the Badgers: Beyond the Box Score

Rachel Kent scored a season-high 25 points at Wisconsin on Dec. 3. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics

SAWYER GOLDWEIN | SPORTS REPORTER | sgoldwein@butler.edu 

Butler traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for their second road power conference matchup of the season. The first one — the Dawgs’ season opener against Iowa State — ended in disappointment. 

The Bulldogs did not let that happen again, as they walked out of the Kohl Center with a 59-51 win over Wisconsin

Both teams struggled offensively throughout the game, but it was close, with the Dawgs slowly but surely extending their lead each quarter after trailing 12-11 at the conclusion of the first frame. 

Starters shoulder the load 

Butler’s starting lineup — consisting of graduate student Rachel Kent, senior Caroline Strande, juniors Ari Wiggins and Sydney Jaynes and sophomore Jordan Meulemans — did just about everything for the Dawgs. 

The starters scored all 59 of Butler’s points. 

Kent led the way with a season-high 25 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. The fifth-year wing was the only Bulldog to go at least 50% from the field. 

Strande stuffed the stat sheet as well, adding nine rebounds and three assists to her 17 point performance. 

Jaynes came up big as well. Seven of her nine points were scored in the fourth quarter to help Butler close out the game. She also grabbed five rebounds and dished out two assists. 

Not only did Butler get no scoring contributions from their bench, but the reserves barely even made a mark on the stat sheet. Senior guard Kendall Wingler pulled down four rebounds, and first-year guard Karsyn Norman was credited with one assist, but those were the only major stats — besides turnovers — registered by the Bulldog backups. 

Turnovers and transition 

Butler did a great job taking care of the basketball against the Badgers. They turned the ball over just five times, winning the turnover battle by a wide margin, as Wisconsin coughed it up 16 times. The Bulldogs turned that into a 13 to six advantage in points off turnovers. 

They could not find the same success in transition, though. Wisconsin had 12 fast break points to Butler’s three. It was not for a lack of live-ball turnovers either, as the Dawgs had a 5-1 advantage in steals. 

Despite also being outscored in the paint and watching the Badgers shoot more free throws,  the Bulldogs made do. 

The gap in made three pointers was likely the difference, as Butler was the better team from beyond the arc despite going just seven of 25 from deep. 

They will certainly want to improve on that number moving forward, but it is not a major concern when considering their entire body of work in that department this season. 

Up next 

Butler will now return to Indianapolis, where they host Vanderbilt on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.. 


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