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

Junior guard Ari Wiggins is averaging 1.6 steals per game in her first year as a Bulldog. Photo by Jonathan Wang

DAVID JACOBS | SPORTS REPORTER | drjacobs@butler.edu 

The women’s basketball team will be looking for their first win of the calendar year as they return to Indianapolis to take on the Friars on Jan. 21. 

Here is what you need to know before Butler tips off against Providence. 

Who: Butler vs. Providence 

When: Jan. 21, 12:00 p.m. 

Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse 

How to watch: FS1 

Getting back on track 

After starting the season 6-2, then going to 8-4, the Dawgs have lost five straight conference games to start the new year. 

With an average margin of defeat right under 15 points, it is safe to say the Dawgs have come across a rough patch. At 8-9, Butler needs to get back to how they were playing in November, where they went on a stretch of accumulating six wins in seven games. 

In that stretch, Butler was active on the defensive end averaging just under 10 combined steals and blocks each game. On their current five game losing streak, that number is down to five per game, including a season low of three against St. John’s

Outside of the lack of defensive activity, there are not many other lacking efforts from the team. The shooting efficiency is a little bit lower, but nothing they have not overcome before this season. 

Scouting the Friars 

Providence is an in-conference foe and competes in the Big East alongside Butler. 

The Friars will be traveling from Providence, Rhode Island which is about a four hour direct flight or a grueling 14 hour road trip. 

So far this season, the Friars sit at 8-11 and 2-4 within the conference and are riding a four game losing streak themselves. 

Led by junior forward Olivia Olsen scoring an average of 15 points a night, the Friars do most of their scoring inside the arc. A 31% team from deep, the Friars lone deep threat is senior guard Brynn Farrell who is a 40% shooter outside the arc. 

Not well seen by their record, but the Friars defense is one of the best in the country when it comes to shutting down opponents. Holding teams to just 37% from the field and 27% from deep, the Dawgs will need to get their shooters going early and often to not fall behind. 

As long as their offense remains in check, and the Butler offense does just enough, it could very well lead to the first conference win of the season. 

Three keys to victory 

  • Defensive pressure. Providence has consistently shot themselves in the foot and wasted their impressive defensive presence. Forcing the Friars to continue their offensive struggles by reaching at least 10 combined steals and blocks will be a vital key to success. 
  • Offensive rebounding. It is not a perfect recipe, but the Dawgs are 5-2 in games where they secure 10 offensive rebounds. Fighting for those extra possessions throughout the game will help turn this offense around. 
  • Ball movement. Butler has not reached 10 assists in three straight games and has not had a positive turnover margin in six straight games. Shooters need to be active without the ball to get open, and the ball handlers need to be proactive and find the open shot. 

At home against a similarly struggling team, Butler may be the slight favorite to win this match up. However, a conference win is crucial to have and will bring this team some much needed confidence. 


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