Butler stays undefeated with win over No. 19 Iowa Western

Butler stays undefeated with win over No. 19 Iowa Western

The Butler women finished the non-conference portion of their schedule undefeated, beating Iowa Western 85-79 in a battle of nationally-ranked teams in the Power Plant on a wintry Sunday afternoon.

The Grizzlies are 9-0 on the year, their best start to a season under head coach Mike Helmer. Butler started 8-1 in 2013-14 and again in 2015-16. Butler's longest winning streak to start a season was 18-0 under Toby McCammon in 2002-03.

On Sunday, Iowa Western hit a pair of free throws to take a 2-0 lead early, but Butler answered with five straight a bucket from Kyla Callins, a 3-pointer by Taylor Birch and another basket from Dana Johnson to go up 7-2.

Iowa Western would tie the game three different times in the first quarter, the last at 19-19, but the Grizzlies got four free throws from Lauryn Snipes over the final 43 seconds of the period, and led 23-19 going to the second quarter.

Awreona Ransom, Kyla Callins and Criste'On Waters each scored buckets for Butler early in the second quarter, as Butler went on a 6-0 run to push the lead to double digits for the first time at 29-19.

The Reivers got as close as three points at 36-33 with 1:39 left in the second quarter, but the Grizzlies closed on a 7-2 run, including an offensive rebound and stick back by Kyla Callins as the buzzer sounded. Butler led 43-35 at the half.

Butler scored the first four points of the third quarter and pushed the lead to 12 after an Awreona Ransom bucket with 7:15 left in the period. Butler's biggest lead came with 5:15 left in the third, when a Waters free throw made the score 52-39.

Butler led 63-56 going to the fourth quarter, and Kayna Simoneau would hit her second 3-pointer of the game to put Butler up by 10 again with 9:50 remaining in the game.

Iowa Western would make one more push, getting as close as four points at 73-69 with five minutes remaining, but Callins and Ransom scored back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to eight and Butler would eventually lead by 10 again at 81-71 with 45 seconds remaining.

Waters led Butler with her second double-double of the season, scoring 19 points with 12 rebounds. Both of Waters' double-doubles have come against ranked teams, with the other coming against NJCAA Division II's No. 2 Kirkwood (Iowa) in the season opener.

Snipes had 12 points, while Callins had 11 and Camille Downs scored 10.

Butler will continue its homestand with two conference matches in the coming week, facing No. 10 Seward County on Wednesday and Colby on Saturday.