SALINA, Kan. – Up by six points late in the second half, advancing to the final four for the first time in school history was starting to look like a very real possibility for the Butler women. But an offensive slump turned into a big run for No. 2 Chipola and the Grizzlies eventually saw their season come to an end with a 64-54 loss on Thursday at the Bicentennial Center.
Butler finishes the finest year in program history at 34-3. Chipola advances to the final four and will play either Hutchinson or Tyler (Texas) in a national semifinal on Friday.
The Grizzlies struggled mightily offensively in the first half against Chipola. Butler would score first on a free throw by Ashlee Ivy in the first minute, but would get its first field goal until Te'era Williams scored a basket with 12:16 left in the half.
Butler was within a point at 4-3 after that score. But Chipola would score eight straight points and led 12-3 with 9:17 left in the half. The Grizzlies would get within two points with 5:41 to play, but Chipola would score seven straight and matched its biggest lead at 22-13 with 1:21 left in the half.
The Grizzlies would score three points on free throws in the final 17 seconds of the half and trailed 22-16 at the intermission.
Butler scored four quick points to start the second half on baskets by Te'era Williams and Shayla Williams, getting back within two points at 22-20 with 18:54 to play.
A layup by Ashlee Ivy tied the game at 24-24 with 16:10 to play and Butler would tie the game again at 31-31 on a basket and free throw by Ashley Gibson with 13:26 to go.
Te'era Williams would dominate game for the next four minutes, scoring nine straight points for the Grizzlies as Butler would build a 40-34 lead with 9:18 to play.
Chipola, however, would score six straight points to tie the game and then, with the Grizzlies up 44-43, made consecutive 3-pointers to go ahead 49-44 with 6:04 to go.
Butler would not get any closer down the stretch as Chipola led by as many as 12 points before winning by 10. Chipola outscored Butler 30-14 over the final nine minutes.
Te'era Williams would score 24 points to lead all players in the game, while Teanna Reid scored 15, Ashley Gibson had seven and Ashlee Ivy had six.
Butler finishes the season with the Jayhawk East Conference title, the first conference championship since 1995. Butler also reached the Region VI championship game for the first time since 1996, made its first-ever appearance in the national tournament and reached the national quarterfinals for the first time.