Beck, Nero lead Butler women past Bethany JV in home opener

Beck, Nero lead Butler women past Bethany JV in home opener

Freshman guard Carissa Beck scored a team-high 21 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting, while sophomore guard RaVon Nero added 18 points and seven rebounds as the Butler women rolled to an 88-38 win over Bethany College JV in Tuesday's home opener at the Power Plant.

"Both of them shot the ball well," Butler head coach Mike Helmer said of Beck and Nero's performance. "(Beck) was knocking down the three's, but that's why we brought her here. We expected her to do that."

Butler (2-1 overall) had four players score in double figures, with Tamara Nard finishing with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Camille Downs recording a double-double on 10 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

The Grizzlies had a strong defensive effort, holding Bethany JV to just 17.7 percent (11-of-62) from the field and forced 17 turnovers. Butler outscored the Swedes by a 68-25 margin in the final three quarters.

"I was really happy with all three quarters," Helmer said. "The first quarter, the things we talked about and wanted to work on was there and we didn't execute it, so that was disappointing."

Butler led 20-13 after one quarter, but clamped down defensively as the Grizzlies outscored Bethany 28-5, won the rebound battle (21-3) and limited the Swedes to just one field goal in the second quarter.

The Grizzlies opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run, getting two free throws and a field goal from Maddie Livingston and a Nero three-point play. After Bethany's Micah Goldman made a trey at the 7:13 mark of the quarter, Butler scored 16 straight points as Beck scored five points during the run.

Beck hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to put Butler up 48-18 at the break.

Butler continued its defensive dominance in the third quarter, as Bethany shot just 2-of-17 in the quarter. The Grizzlies increased their lead to 41 points on a Beck three-pointer from the right wing with 2:12 remaining in the quarter.

Butler's largest lead of the contest, 84-33, came on a Beck basket following an offensive rebound in the paint with 3:50 left in the contest.

For the game, Butler shot 42.5 percent (31-of-73) and hit 38.9 (7-of-18) from beyond the three-point line. The Grizzlies dominated the boards, outrebounding Bethany 68-22 and scoring 30 points in the paint.

The Grizzlies will head to Midland, Texas for three games beginning Thursday with a 2:00 p.m. contest against Jacksonville, Texas. On Friday at 6:00 p.m., Butler will face host Midland, ranked 14th in the nation. Butler finishes the three-game stretch Saturday with a noon contest against Air Force Prep.

"We don't know a whole lot about Jacksonville and Air Force Prep, but Midland is huge," said Helmer about the upcoming trip. "We're really going to have to be physical against them.

"We've got two new assistants and nine new players," Helmer added. "Everything is new right now. Trying to work our way through that will be the biggest challenge. We've got to figure out how to get better each day, keep working and keep believing in each other."