A game for bragging rights and pride: Beyond the Box Score

Caroline Strande had a season high 26 points and six assists against Xavier. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.

DAVID JACOBS | STAFF REPORTER | drjacobs@butler.edu 

The women’s basketball team secured their first conference victory with a commanding 90-57 triumph over rival Xavier on Jan. 24. 

Led by senior guard Caroline Strande with an efficient 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, the Dawgs were in their best form against the Musketeers. 

Propelled by a second quarter where the Dawgs outscored Xavier 28-8, Butler shot 62% from the field and 54% from behind the arc. 

Joining Strande in double digits were first-year forward Riley Makalusky, junior forward Sydney Jaynes and graduate wing Rachel Kent as they chipped in 19, 14 and 12 points each, respectively. 

A lot went well for the Dawgs but here are the three highlights. 

Shot efficiency 

As previously mentioned, the ladies were on fire in the rivalry game, marking the first time all year they went 60% from the field and the first time in nine games they shot above 50%. 

Now undefeated in games shooting above 49% and 7-1 in games shooting above 43.3%, it is clear that to start a win streak the efficiency must stay high. 

On the defensive side, the Dawgs held Xavier to just 35% from the field and 21% from behind the arc. In fascinating correlation, Butler is now 9-2 in games where the opponent shoots less than 43.3% from the field. 

What is it about this magical number of 43.3? It is just simply a bench mark of a good shooting night versus a poor shooting night. The great teams can find ways to win without a great shooting performance or in spite of their opponent shooting lights out, but for the Dawgs it is clear they need to be shooting efficiently and for their opponent to be cold. 

Ball movement 

The Dawgs reached 26 assists on the night, a season high against a division one opponent and now moves to 5-0 when reaching the 20 assist mark. 

Kent matched Strande’s total with six assists while junior guard Ari Wiggins racked up five assists in her 17 minutes of play. 

Although there were still a hefty 20 turnovers committed, defensively the Dawgs were able to hold Xavier to just 10 assists and really suffocated their offensive attack throughout the night. 

Playing for pride 

Not only were the Bulldogs playing against hated rival Xavier, they were playing against themselves to finally get over the hump. 

After a revival of the women’s basketball program last season with the hiring of head coach Austin Parkinson, the goals for this season were definitely higher than they have been for quite some time. 

With the six game skid, and going 0-7 in conference play to start, it felt like those expectations were falling short. However, with at least 11 more games left to play, Parkinson has the squad at 9-10 and just two games shy of matching last year’s win total. 

The Bulldogs stay on the road this weekend as they travel up to Wisconsin to take on Marquette on Saturday, Jan. 27. 


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