The Butler women's basketball team finished 1-1 in their season opening tournament as they fell to Div. II No. 2 Kirkwood Community College Friday afternoon 67-59 and defeated the host State Fair Community College Saturday night with a final score 91-65.
Butler kept pace through three quarters of play against the Division II No. 2 ranked Eagles but Kirkwood proved to be too strong in the fourth quarter outscoring the Grizzlies 28-17 in the final 10-minutes to claim the victory.
"First game jitters might have played a little part in Friday's loss and shooting woes, but we didn't' execute like we needed to," commented head coach mike Helmer. "Kirkwood did a great job of switching defenses and keeping us off guard in that aspect of the game."
Butler gave themselves plenty of scoring opportunities as they outrebounded the Eagles 37-28 and forced 22 turnovers in the game, but the Grizzlies shot just 35.8% from FG and 14% from three-point range making only 2 of 14 in the contest.
"They out worked us in the fourth quarter. We did not get enough loose balls and lost the game due to fouls. You cannot foul like we did in the fourth and win a game," said Helmer.
Butler finished the game with 28 personal fouls with three players fouling out. Kirkwood took advantage of the fouls and made 28-36 free throws to the Grizzlies 19-27.
Butler's RaVon Nero was the only Grizzly with double digit scoring as she led Butler offensively posting a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Tamar Nard scored nine points while Zayda Perez finished with eight and four assists.
Saturday was a different story as Butler was not going to start the season with two losses. They jumped all over the host Roadrunners in the first quarter taking a 20-11 lead after the first 10-minutes. State Fair would show poise the next two quarters winning both quarters to make it a 62-55 score with Butler on top entering the fourth.
"We challenged them all day Saturday to finish the game in the fourth quarter," said Helmer. "It was a major emphasis and the girls rose to the challenge."
The message was heard loud and clear as Butler won the fourth quarter 29-10 and got their first win of the season 91-65 over the Roadrunners and coach Mike Helmer's 250th win as head coach of the Grizzlies.
"I think the biggest adjustment from Friday to Saturday is we were overconfident on Friday. The fouls were still an issue but not as bad as Friday. We executed better and had a much better basketball IQ on Saturday," mention Helmer.
Four Grizzlies reached double figures in the game as Camille Downs did it all Saturday as she led the way with a double-double scoring 22 points and pulling down 11 rebounds while dishing out four assists and recording five steals. Tamara Nard finished with 19 points and six rebounds while Maddy Willis-Rosa scored 15 points knocking down three three-pointers in the contest. RaVon Nero was the other Grizzly in double figures finishing with 10 pints and eight rebounds. Dana Johnson dominated the paint grabbing 11 rebounds and scoring six points.
The Grizzlies will now look ahead to a four-game week as they host their home opener on Tuesday, November 5th as they take on Bethany College junior varsity at 5:30pm before heading to the Midland Classic in Midland, TX for a three game tournament Thursday-Saturday.