SALINA, Kan. – The Butler women made their debut in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament an impressive one, handling Southwest Mississippi 69-31 on Monday at the Bicentennial Center.
The 31 points surrendered by the Grizzlies are the fewest ever in a national tournament game. The previous low was 33 points scored by Louisburg College in 2004.
With the win, Butler (33-2) advances to the second round, where they will face Shelton State (Ala.), the No. 7 overall seed with a 30-3 record. That game will be played at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
As it has done so many times this season, the Grizzlies used a stifling defensive pressure to jump to an early lead. The Grizzlies went on a 7-0 run to start the game before Southwest scored its first basket – a three-pointer with 16:53 left in the first half.
Butler then went on another 7-0 run and led 14-3 with 14:07 to play after an offensive rebound and basket by Kynadi Johnson. The Grizzlies would lead by as many as 21 in the first half after a fast-break basket by Alli Heimerman made it 28-7 with 5:54 left to play before halftime.
Southwest would outscore Butler 10-5 to finish the half, but the Grizzlies still had a comfortable 33-17 lead at intermission.
Butler then outscored Southwest 10-2 to start the second half, pushing the lead to 43-19 with 15:25 to play. The lead went past 30 when Teanna Reid scored to make it 58-27 with 5:47 to play.
The Grizzlies limited Southwest to just 15.5 percent (9-of-58) shooting from the field. Butler forced 19 turnovers and outrebounded the Bears by a 49-35 margin.
Butler was led by Te'era Williams, who had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Ashlee Ivy had 14 points and Ashley Gibson had 10.