Sixth-ranked Butler somen's basketball suffers first loss of the season to Coffeyville

It's the first loss for the Grizzlies since Feb. 10, 2020, a span of 394 days.

Lionel Tipton
MeKayla Furman (22) attempts a shot in the first quarter of Saturday's 69-61 loss to Coffeyville. The Sophomore transfer from Trinity Valley CC had 13 points off the bench.

EL DORADO, Kansas — The Butler women’s basketball team came into Saturday’s game undefeated, ranked sixth nationally and sitting atop the Jayhawk Conference’s East Division at 12-0.

But that didn’t intimidate Coffeyville.

And when the Red Ravens began to hit their shots in the middle two quarters, the Grizzlies didn’t have an answer and suffered a 69-61 upset loss at the Power Plant.

Neither team tore it up early, as Butler hit just 33 percent from the field and Coffeyville 29 percent in the first quarter.

But the Red Ravens shot 47 percent in the second quarter and clung to a 31-30 halftime lead.

Coffeyville hit eight of 18 third-quarter shots and had a 50-43 lead when the third quarter ended. It managed to rebuff any Grizzlies comeback attempt and hit just enough free throws down the stretch to maintain the lead.

The Red Ravens placed four players in double figures, led by Paige Scott’s game-high 19 points. She and Martina Aeschliman led Coffeyville with three three-pointers each.

The Grizzlies were led by 6-foot-2 sophomore Tamara Nard, who had 17 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes. Sophomore Mekayla Furman had 13 points, and sophomore Skyla Knight and freshman Kaylee Nero each finished with 10.

Butler (13-1, 12-1) ended the night converting only 31.3 percent from the field, but what was even more telling was the Grizzlies’ abysmal three-point shooting. Butler missed all 16 of its tries in the first three quarters and hit its first three-pointer when Skyla Knight sank one from the right wing with 5:49 left in the game, finishing the game hitting just four of 27.

As fouls mounted up for both teams, converting free throws became vitally important. Butler only sank 17 of 33 in the game (51.5 percent). 

Coffeyville wasn’t much better at the line, hitting just 12 of 20 (60 percent), but the Red Ravens (9-3, 8-3) were nine of 28 from three-point range (32 percent).

Any adjustments will have to be made quickly, as the Grizzlies will play host to Cloud County on Monday. The Thunderbirds (7-6, 6-6) saw their modest two-game winning streak snapped Saturday at home to Cowley, 84-70.

The game was hardly a thing of beauty as both teams each committed 25 turnovers, but it was the Grizzlies’ errors and subpar play that displeased coach Mike Helmer.

“We shot bad, but more importantly, we weren’t playing together as a team,” Helmer said. “We’ve been talking to them about being happy for each other, and when we’re not happy for each other, bad things happen.

“We didn’t make shots, we didn’t play defense, we really didn’t execute anything (Saturday night). Coffeyville deserved to beat us.”

Helmer said some lessons were learned. Now comes some attitude adjustments, he said.

“Be humble,” he said. “Play together as a team. We’ll get beat Monday if we don’t do that.

“We got into ‘We think we’re good,’ and so we’re not going to stick together, and we’re going to point fingers. Against teams like Coffeyville, you can’t do that.”

Many Butler shots appeared halfway down before bouncing out, and that confounded Helmer even more.

“It’s one of those nights,” he said. “I don’t know what else to say. We couldn’t make shots.”