After a 63-61 overtime win against rival Xavier, the Butler University women’s basketball team extended their winning streak to three games, ranking them third in the Big East.
Kristen Spolyar had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 25 points, including the key overtime bucket to secure the win. Down by one with just over 20 seconds left, Spolyar posted up on the foul line and drove past her defender for the layup to take the lead. Spolyar, a senior, has appeared in all 21 games so far and averages 19 points per game.
Senior forward Katherine Strong contributed to the win assisting three of Butler’s first four baskets to give them an 11-2 lead.
“No one expected us to be where we are right now with the slow start to Big East play,” she said. “We knew after being 0-2 that we had to regroup and gain more focus, which has shown in our recent games.”
Butler is coming off of a strong season last year, finishing 23-10 and playing in the WNIT Tournament. However, with the loss of three starters to graduation, Butler has had to fill gaps both offensively and defensively. Between Whitney Jennings’ consistent shot, Michelle Weaver’s tough defense and Tori Schickel’s unstoppable rebounding, other Bulldogs have had to step up such as freshman guard Oumou Toure and redshirt junior guard Genesis Parker.
The Bulldogs are 15-6 overall and 7-3 in conference play. Being ranked third in the Big East, Butler falls just behind Depaul and Marquette. Depaul is ranked 11th in AP polls while Marquette is on a five-game win streak.
Strong admits that it is too early to judge their team, being in such a competitive conference where any game could go either way. However, the past three wins have been a jump in the right direction.
“These wins have brought us closer together. We are excited to be top three right now, but it doesn’t stop here.”
Butler will have time to rest and practice before their next game against the Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas are 1-10 in conference play, however only lost by one point to Butler in their last meeting. In order to ensure a Butler win, it all comes down to Kristen Spolyar. The guard is responsible for a majority of the team’s wins thanks to her three point shot and driving to the basket. However, she will be playing with a target on her back and will need other players to step up offensively.
The showdown between the bulldogs will be Friday evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler is ready to continue their streak in front of their home crowd. As always, Strong and her squad are ready to feast on their competition.