HUTCHINSON, Kan. — For the first time since 2007, the Butler women came away with a victory on the Sports Arena scoreboard. With a strong defensive effort, the Grizzlies knocked off No. 14 Hutchinson 57-54 on Saturday.
"I was really proud of the girls and proud of the team for following the scouting report," said Butler head coach Mike Helmer about the win. "This win was for the 90-plus girls that came before them."
Butler forced 27 turnovers on the night and shot 23-of-28 from the foul line - including 15-of-18 in the final quarter to preserve the win.
"I thought our defense was really good and our press caused them problems also," Helmer said. "It was something (Hutchinson) might not have expected since we haven't really pressed all year."
Up 12-9 late in the first quarter, Butler put together a 9-1 run to build an 11-point lead. The Grizzlies hit four straight field goals, with Awreona Ransom hitting two. Her second bucket gave Butler a 20-9 lead with 7:25 before the break.
Butler went into halftime up 26-22, but shot just 9 percent (1-of-11) from the field in the third quarter. Hutchinson (20-5, 16-5) took advantage, going on a 15-2 run for the opening 7:51 of the quarter to take a 34-28 lead.
The Grizzlies closed the quarter making 3-of-4 free throws and trailed by three, 34-31, heading into the final quarter.
With Butler down 35-31, Mattingly hit a three-pointer, then Smallwood made 2-of-2 foul shots to get Butler back in front 36-35 with 8:25 to play.
Both teams exchanged leads before Butler broke a 40-all tie with a 10-2 run to go up 50-42 with 3:12 left. Smallwood scored six points while Mattingly added four to account for all of the Grizzlies' points during the spurt.
Hutch would close within three on a three-pointer and a field goal from Dejanae Roebuck, but Butler ended the game by hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute.
Hutch outshot Butler from the field, hitting 44.7 percent (21-of-47) while the Grizzlies made just 32.6 (15-of-46). However, Butler made its way to the foul line for 28 attempts - 20 more than the Dragons - and hit 82.1 percent of those attempts.
Butler will stay on the road with a Wednesday contest at Cloud County at 8:00 p.m.
NOTES: Entering Saturday's game, Butler was 3-16 all-time vs. Hutchinson under Grizzly head coach Mike Helmer. The Dragons won both meetings during the 2014-15 season, but had to forfeit the victories due to a KJCCC ruling... Butler's last win at the Sports Arena came in a 57-43 win on Feb. 10, 2007.