Butler women fall short in season-ending loss at nationals

Butler women fall short in season-ending loss at nationals

LUBBOCK, Texas — The Butler women saw their season come to an end with a narrow 51-50 loss to Northwest Florida in the second round of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament at Rip Giffin Arena on Wednesday.

Northwest Florida advances to the Elite Eight and will face Odessa (Texas) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Butler (28-5 overall) has its season comes to an end after winning Jayhawk East and Region VI Tournament championships along the way.

On Wednesday, Butler had a chance to win, getting the ball back with 7.4 seconds left in the contest, but the possession went awry and a last-second heave from beyond the 3-point line hit the backboard and failed to go in.

For most of the game, the Grizzlies struggled offensively. Butler shot just 30 percent from the floor in the contest, including going just 2-19 from 3-point range.

Northwest Florida jumped in front 6-0 and led 10-2 before Butler could get going. The Grizzlies got within two points late in the quarter but trailed 20-16 going to the second.

Butler scores the first four points of the second quarter to tie the game 20-20 on a layup by Criste'On Waters with 8:17 left in the first half.

Butler went cold at that point, going nearly five minutes without scoring a point. Northwest scored seven straight to go up 27-20, but the Raiders stopped scoring as well - going the final 6:16 until halftime without scoring.

Butler scored the final four points of the half and cut the lead to 27-24.

The Grizzlies struggled offensively as the second half started, getting just two points through the first eight minutes of the third quarter, and trailing 41-33 going to the fourth.

Butler trailed by just two at 48-46 before Northwest drained a 3-pointer with 2:09 to go to push it back to a five-point game.

With 1:19 remaining, Awreona Ransom made two foul shots to pull Butler within 51-48. Two possessions later, Camille Downs forced a steal which led to a fast-break basket by Ransom with 14 seconds left.

After a timeout, Northwest threw a pass out of bounds to set up the Grizzlies' final possession.

Waters led Butler with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the loss, while Northwest's Georgia Gayle had 17 points to lead the Raiders.