Women’s basketball vs. Xavier: What you need to know

Butler looks to get back on track against Xavier. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics

SAWYER GOLDWEIN | STAFF REPORTER | sgoldwein@butler.edu 

The women’s basketball team will have a prime opportunity to pick up their first Big East win when they travel to Xavier on Jan. 24. 

The Dawgs are currently 8-10 on the season, and 0-7 in conference play. Their loss to Providence on Jan. 21 was their sixth consecutive defeat. 

Here is what you need to know ahead of the Bulldogs’ matchup with Xavier. 

Who: Butler vs. Xavier 

When: Jan. 24, 7 p.m. 

Where: Cintas Center 

How to watch: BEDN 

Depth and rotations 

As Butler’s struggles have become more and more apparent throughout conference play, head coach Austin Parkinson has shuffled around his rotations and starting lineups. 

Parkinson’s opening day lineup consisted of junior guard Ari Wiggins, senior guard Caroline Strande, sophomore guard Jordan Meulemans, graduate wing Rachel Kent and junior forward Sydney Jaynes

That lineup has started for the majority of this season, but first-years Karsyn Norman and Cristen Carter have each found their way into the starting lineup during Big East play. Norman started at point guard against Creighton and Villanova before Parkinson reverted to Wiggins. Meanwhile, Carter has gotten the start at forward in the past two contests. Sophomore forward Lilly Stoddard also got a spot start earlier in the season against St. Thomas. 

Rounding out the current rotation are first-year guard Riley Makalusky — who is averaging 13.6 minutes in 17 appearances off the bench — and senior guard Kendall Wingler, who has played near identical minutes. She is averaging 13.4 minutes off the bench in 17 games played. 

Wingler may see more playing time in the near future, though. She played a large chunk of the second half in Butler’s loss to Providence, while Meulemans, whose shooting would’ve been a big asset, sat out the rest of the game after halftime. It’s not clear why Meulemans did not get her usual time on the court, but if the situation turns into an extended absence, Wingler and Makalusky can be expected to take the majority of those minutes. 

Scouting the Musketeers 

The Xavier Musketeers are in a rough patch. Not just a few games, but a few years. They have not had a winning season since their 2015-16 campaign, and did not win a conference game all of last season. Unfortunately for the Musketeers, this year has been more of the same. Xavier is 1-15 overall and 0-7 in conference play — leaving them in the basement of the Big East standings. 

Xavier’s losing streak hit seven after an 18-point loss at Georgetown on Jan. 20. 

The Musketeers’ leading scorer is senior guard Mackayla Scarlett, who has dropped 12.5 points per game in 10 contests. The Dawgs also have to watch out for redshirt first-year guard Aizhanique Mayo, who is averaging 9.1 points per game and is shooting 38.9% from long range. 

Given the Musketeers’ struggles, Butler should not have to do anything special to walk out of Cincinnati with a win. 

The Bulldogs have the speed to play in transition and outrun Xavier, but the Musketeers are also a rare example of a Big East team who is not going to overwhelm Butler with their physicality. As a result, the Dawgs should be able to establish a good rhythm in the post as well, and crash the offensive glass without much trouble. 

This is a game that Butler can and should win. If they do, they’ll officially be in the win column for the first time in Big East play this season. 


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