Arena Sportsnet

Sycamore Women Fall at Butler

INDIANAPOLIS – Ashli O’Neal scored 16 points – most of which came in the second half – but Butler took a 17-point lead into halftime and never relented in a 72-49 decision at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse Monday night in Indianapolis.

While Indiana State (5-4) held Butler well under its 15 steals per game – the Bulldogs registered just 10 steals in the game – the visiting Sycamores could not seem to stop a hot-shooting attack as Butler (8-1) shot 45.3 percent from the field after a 50 percent clip in the first half.

“That has been an issue,” Indiana State Head Coach Vicki Hall said of her team allowing opponents to score with high shooting percentages. “We are saying that we want to pride ourselves on defense but defense is heart, effort and determination. When you play good teams, you cannot just guard their first option. You have to be able to guard their second and third option. That is what makes a good team good. We are at the level of average and if we keep working where we can guard the second and third options of teams, then we will get to the good level.”

O’Neal, whose 16 points led all scorers alongside the 16 from Butler’s Whitney Jennings, was the only Sycamore to reach double figures, a mark she has done in every game this season. But Butler’s defense prevented any other player in Blue and White from hitting the 10-point mark.

Tamara Lee was seemingly on pace to do so. Her nine points came off a trio of 3-pointers Monday night with all three in the first half. But the hosts dialed up the defensive pressure on Lee, and the rest of the Indiana State quad, early in the second quarter to pull away before halftime.

“You have to give Butler credit – they gave us some pressure, they are a little bit bigger than us and I think that bothers us. And it showed. These are just different situations where we have to be more patient and execute our offense.”

That came starting at the 6:56 mark in the second frame as Indiana State had cut the Butler lead to four at 19-15 before the host Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run with Kristen Spolyar being responsible for a majority of those points in her 13-point effort. Naira Caceres, who averages 3.1 points per game, put up a season-high 14 points as the third Bulldog to reach double figures.

Tierra Webb grabbed a season-high six rebounds to lead ISU on the boards while Tori Schickel led Butler with nine boards.

Indiana State will now play at Eastern Illinois on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT.

For the latest information on the Sycamore Women’s Basketball team, make sure to check out GoSycamores.com. You can also find the team on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Post-Game Quotes

Indiana State Head Coach Vicki Hall

I was a bit disappointed. It was a humbling experience and I think it was a good one for our ladies. I think we started out the season well but it shows that we still have a lot of work to do. I hope that they take this as a learning experience and are even more willing and eager to get in the gym and get better.

On the gut-check from a tough Butler team:

I think it is a good check for us and also in the fact that Illinois State lost to them by just two. Then we could almost lose by 25. Just like I said before, I think it is a great opportunity to see what our team decides they want to do. Do we want to get better and keep working and make ourselves compete at a level that is pretty high or are we satisfied with where we are?

On Butler’s second quarter run that defined the outcome:

I think what we did a good job of was keeping the ball out of the bigs hands. What we didn’t do a good job of was our rotations out of it and their guards just went crazy on us. It hurt us as we didn’t rotate very well out of our doubles or our fronting situation and we paid for it.

On limiting Butler’s steals but allowing them to shoot over 45 percent:

That has been an issue. We are saying that we want to pride ourselves on defense but defense is heart, effort and determination. When you play good teams, you cannot just guard their first option. You have to be able to guard their second and third option. That is what makes a good team good. We are at the level of average and if we keep working where we can guard the second and third options of teams, then we will get to the good level.

On looking for full game out of players:

You have to give Butler credit – they gave us some pressure, they are a little bit bigger than us and I think that bothers us. And it showed. These are just different situations where we have to be more patient and execute our offense. We had a lot of different situations where we tried to drive or get into the paint off of not one ball reversal and we ended up getting stuffed. This isn’t how you are going to be able to play basketball at a high level. I have talked about execution for two months now. We are still talking about that. We just have to keep working.

Story Courtesy Patrick Walsh – ISU WBB Contact

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