Make it 15 straight: Grizzlies dismantle Cloud County, 86-57
The Grizzlies have not lost since losing to Indy CC on Feb. 10, 2020.
CONCORDIA, KANSAS—Ninth-ranked Butler used an almost perfect defensive second quarter to separate themselves from the Cloud County Thunderbirds. The second quarter gave Butler the double-digit advantage they would turn into a 86-57 win.
With another conference win, the Grizzlies are now 9-0 on the season and increase their winning stream to 15 consecutive games.
After a tough first quarter, the Grizzlies defense went into lockdown mode. They held Cloud County without a field goal for the first 9:57 of the second quarter and it wasn’t until a last second jumper that gave Cloud their first bucket.
The Grizzlies forced 12 turnovers in the quarter and that led out to multiple buckets for Butler. Showing why they are considered the best defense in junior college basketball, the Grizzlies did it through an array of players buying in.
“That was one of the best quarters I’ve had in my time here at Butler,” Helmer said.
Of the 12 turnovers, Butler had 13 points off the turnovers, including 22 points off turnovers in the half.
At one point in the second, Tamara Nard had more blocks (3) than Cloud County had points (2).
Butler led 42-20 at the break.
In all, Butler held Cloud County to only 32.8 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from beyond the three-point line. They forced 33 turnovers and turned that into 42 points.
“We focus on defense in practice,” Nard said. “We make it our priority.”
Butler saw their lead balloon to over 20 when Cameren Downs made a layup off a steal by Carissa Beck, putting Butler up 50-30 with 6:18 remaining in the third. Then, their first 30-point lead came when Skyla Knight made a jumper to put Butler up 65-35 with 1:14 remaining in the quarter.
The Grizzlies only had 13 turnovers on the night and held Cloud County to 10 points off those turnovers.
“We talked about being better with turnovers,” Helmer said. “We did a good job outside of the sloppy stuff there at the end.”
Nard finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists, five blocks and two steals.
In all, Butler had four players in double figures, including Kaylee Nero, off the bench with 11 points.
Butler wasted little time defending their top 10 ranking as they were moved into the top echelon of women’s basketball on Monday afternoon. They were ranked 13th in their win over Northwest Kansas Tech on Saturday.
Butler gets a big-time test on Saturday as they travel to Independence. Last year, the Lady Pirates did get the best of the Grizzlies once in the two games.
Indy CC was also the last team to beat Butler last season.
“I’ve coached against [Jim] Turgeon before,” Helmer said. “We know he’s a good coach and if we can win that game, it will give us a three-game lead in the conference.”