The Butler women's basketball team will make history with its first-ever trip to the NJCAA National Tournament. An official at-large invitation was received and accepted by coach Mike Helmer around noon on Sunday.
Sixth-ranked Butler (32-2) joins Blinn, Northwest Florida State and Salt Lake as the four at-large selections to be in the 24-team national tournament. The seedings and brackets will be released on Monday. No. 6 Butler goes into the national tournament after a narrow 54-52 loss to No. 3 Hutchinson on Saturday night in the Region VI championship game at Koch Arena in Wichita.
Heading into the National Tournament, the Grizzlies carry the best record in program history at 32-2 and are coming off the first conference championship since 1995 and the first Region VI Tournament championship game appearance since 1996. In addition to the history the program has made, the Grizzlies are the first Jayhawk Conference women's program to ever receive an at-large bid to the big dance in Salina.
Sophomore Te'era Williams leads the Grizzlies in scoring at 19.7 ppg and is a two-time KJCCC/Verizon Wireless Player of the Week award recipient. Williams and fellow sophomore Ashlee Ivy are joined by freshmen Ashley Gibson and Teanna Reid as 2014 Jayhawk All-Conference teamers. Williams, Ivy and Gibson were also named to the Region VI All-Tournament team.
The Grizzlies are led by sixth-year coach Mike Helmer, who has led the program to its best two-year win total (58 wins) and a school-record 32 wins this season including 30 consecutive wins. The Grizzlies have averaged 20 wins per season during Helmer's six seasons including an average of 24 wins over the last four years.