Sophomore Jordan Meulemans scored 11 points against Vanderbilt on Dec. 7. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.
DAVID JACOBS | SPORTS REPORTER | email@example.com
The women’s basketball team suffered their third loss of the season in an ugly 51-39 outing against Vanderbilt on Dec. 7.
Led by senior guard Caroline Strande with 12 points, the Dawgs were pummeled with 24 turnovers forced by a suffocating Vanderbilt defense. Ahead 7-6 at the end of the opening quarter, Butler was not able to overcome a 14-4 second quarter surge by Vanderbilt.
Relying on a flurry of three pointers by sophomore guard Jordan Meulemans and Strande, the Dawgs were able to claw their way back to a 37-34 deficit midway through the fourth quarter before the Commodores stormed back to secure their victory.
“[When] you turn the ball over 24 times and give up 21 offensive rebounds, they get 20 more shot attempts than us,” head coach Austin Parkinson said. “When an SEC team comes here they are going to be athletic and physical, but we wanted no part of that physical play.”
After two consecutive games with positive assist-to-turnover ratios in wins against Bradley and Wisconsin, the Dawgs gave up the ball 24 times against a trap-heavy Vanderbilt defense. Of the 24 turnovers, just 12 were from steals while the other half was a mix of shot-clock, traveling and charging violations.
Despite a whopping 18 turnovers in the first half, Butler managed to give it up just six times in the second half.
“[In the second half], we were trying to attack more in transition,” Parkinson said. “The way we were designed to break the press was with the center in the middle of the floor, but in the first half the center was not in the middle of the floor.”
On top of the overbearing amount of turnovers, the Bulldogs gave up 21 offensive rebounds which resulted in 20 more shot attempts for Vanderbilt.
“We are not going to shoot lights out every game, but we got virtually nothing from our post players around the rim,” Parkinson said.
Despite coming out flat offensively, Butler still held the Commodores to just 51 points and 34% shooting from the field. Prior to the game, Vanderbilt was scoring an impressive 75 points per game.
“The positives are in the half court; we can guard,” Parkinson said. “For about 35 minutes in the half court, we were guarding them fine.”
Junior guard Ari Wiggins led the team with four steals, but also led the team with six offensive turnovers.
Despite this, the Dawgs have plenty to look forward to this year with the emergence of Strande on offense, Wiggins on defense and the impressive 53% three point shooter in Meulemans. They take on Chicago State on Dec. 10 before beginning Big East play at Connecticut.
“We will be fine,” Parkinson said. “Next opportunity we [have to] play an athletic, physical team, we need to learn from this. We cannot be walking out of games thinking we got pushed around and out toughed. Just to throw the ball up to the rim go get it because we refuse to box out, that is discouraging so hopefully we learn from it.”