Butler women knock off No. 10 Seward to open conference

Butler women knock off No. 10 Seward to open conference

The Butler women earned their second straight win over a ranked team and stayed undefeated on the season with a 65-54 win over No. 10 Seward County on Wednesday at the Power Plant.

In the conference opener for both teams, No. 16 Butler (10-0 overall, 1-0 conference) dominated the second and fourth quarters on their way to the win. The Grizzlies outscored Seward 25-7 in the second, then outpaced the Saints 18-10 in the final quarter.

With their 10th straight victory to open the season, Butler has now achieved a 10-0 mark twice in program history. During the 2001-02 season under Toby McCammon, the Grizzlies won their first 20 games to open the season. Butler's win over Seward also secured the second-best start in school history, passing the 9-0 start by the 2006-07 squad under Darryl Smith.

The Butler victory also snapped a six-game losing streak against Seward County, as the Grizzlies posted their first home win over the Saints since Feb. 23, 2013.

Seward (6-2 overall, 0-1 conference) hit a pair of 3-pointers early to take a 6-0 lead. Butler would battle back, and after back-to-back buckets by Awreona Ransom, the Grizzlies tied the game 8-8 with 5:44 left in the first quarter.

Butler took its first lead at 12-11 on a basket by Criste'On Waters, but Seward answered with an 8-0 run. Lauryn Snipes banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull the Grizzlies within four, 19-15.

Seward scored first in the second quarter to go up 21-15, and led by five at 24-19 after a 3-pointer by Karolina Szydlowska with 8:25 left in the half.

Butler would hold Seward to just two points the rest of the way, going on a 21-2 run. The Grizzlies led 40-26 at halftime.

The Grizzlies struggled in the third quarter by hitting just 1-of-11 from the field. Seward took advantage of Butler's shooting woes, getting within a point at 45-44 on a layup by Lexi Hernandez with 1:06 left in the quarter. Butler managed to stay in front with a Criste'On Waters bucket for a 47-44 advantage heading to the final quarter.

Jalise Smallwood and Awreona Ransom scored for Butler early in the fourth quarter to help the Grizzlies take a 51-44 lead. From that point, Seward would get no closer than six points the rest of the game.

Lauryn Snipes scored 20 points to lead Butler. Waters had a double-double for Butler with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Smallwood scored 12 points. Szydlowska led Seward with 15 points.

Butler is back in action again on Saturday, with a home conference game against Colby (4-4, 0-1), who dropped its conference opener 84-72 at Neosho on Wednesday.

NOTES: The win over Seward was just Butler's third victory over the Saints since the 1999-2000 season. In that span, Seward has dominated the series with a 34-3 record over the Grizzlies.