Story by Wyatt Ebersole
The Butler Women's Basketball squad made their first road trip of 2023 on Saturday, taking the hour-long drive down US-77 to tussle with the Tigers of Cowley. The Grizzlies fell behind big early and an upset seemed to be in the works, but the Grizzlies would rally back in the second half and left the floor with a hard-earned 72-62 victory.
The win improves the Grizzlies to 12-3 overall and pick up a much-needed win in Jayhawk Conference play where they are now 7-3 and currently sitting tied for third place in the conference with Seward County.
As mentioned, things were not looking good for the Grizzlies early, as Cowley was on fire early on, especially from behind the arc. The Tigers buried four threes on four consecutive possessions to give themselves the early 19-5 lead with 2:16 left in the first quarter. Cowley managed to keep their lead in double-digits throughout most of the rest of the half, until the Grizzlies dashed the lead down to five at 31-36 with a three-pointer on back-to-back possessions from Randi Harding and then Jada Knight. The final 71 seconds of the first half were scoreless and the Tigers still held the five-point edge heading into the break.
The Grizzlies came out ready to work in the second half. They quickly found three baskets to start the half and Jaila Harding's layup at the 7:03 mark of the third quarter gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the afternoon at 37-36. The Grizzlies would then go to work on building a big lead of their own, which they grew as big as ten points after a Harding jumper with 1:26 left. Cowley made a pair of free throws in the final minute and the Grizzlies had flipped the script on the Tigers, up 50-42 with only ten minutes left in the game.
The Grizzlies managed to grow their lead up to 14 at 56-42 early in the fourth and it seemed the game was out of reach for the Tigers. Cowley would manage to get the Grizzly into single-digits multiple times, but the stout Grizzly defense didn't allow them to put more than a couple possessions together. Cowley would shrink their deficit down to five with just over 90 seconds left, but that was as close as they got, and the Grizzlies came out with the 72-62 victory.
The Grizzlies play again on Wednesday, January 11th at home against Garden City at 5:30.
NOTES: The Butler Women are 11-9 against Cowley since 2011…The Grizzlies break their two game losing streak against Cowley and the teams have split the last six matchups…Jada Knight's 19 points were her best in her Grizzly career in a road game and her best scoring number this season…The Grizzlies are 12-1 in games this season where Freddie Wallace scores at least 10 points and are 0-2 when she doesn't…Jada's five made three-point shots in the game is the most by any Grizzly this season