Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Butler’s double-double leads way

Massachusetts center Jen Butler has mastered the art of the double-double. She makes double-digit scoring and rebounding look easy.

After an 11-point, 11-board effort against Vermont last night, the leading scorer and rebounder of this year’s Minutewoman squad picked up 45th double-double of her career.

But in UMass’ 53-48 victory over the Catamounts – in which she was double and triple teamed all game long and with out even a field goal in the first half – Butler showed that any good master of an art will find a way to get the job done.

“I am used to getting double and triple teamed by now, so it took some time for me to settle down and help out my team any way I could,” Butler said.

Similar to the defense opposing teams placed on UMass all last season, UVM Head Coach Keith Cieplicki continuously had his squad deny the Minutewomen guards a clear view of Butler in the post in the first half.

Even if Katie Nelson, Ebony Pegues or Cleo Foster were able to make an easy entry pass to Butler, an immediate double or triple team surrounded the 6-foot-3 woman-in-the-middle – forcing Butler to take an awkward shot. She was only able to get off three shots before the break and none of them fell through the cylinder.

Butler tried to kick the ball out to the open UMass shooters on the wing. But her teammates were unable to capitalize on the Catamount defensive switches as the Minutewomen shot 23 percent in the first frame.

“I liked our defense tonight,” Cieplicki said. “We tried to mix up our doubles pretty consistently.”

“They were tripling up Jen inside and she was finding people and we got some great looks, but we were one and out every single time down the floor,” UMass Head Coach Marnie Dacko said. “But in the second half, we were making the extra pass and Jen was getting to the foul line.”

In the second half, Butler continued to receive multiple-player coverage. A fatigue factor began to set in and with nine minutes left in the game with UMass down by two at 39-37, Butler picked up her fourth foul which sent her to the bench.

“I wanted to keep her in with four fouls but my assistants said to pull her so I went with them,” Dacko said. “But gut feeling was to keep her in.”

After Butler went to the bench, Vermont went on a 6-0 run to take a 43-39 lead.

But in her return to the action with 4:30 left, Butler pushed her finesse game to the side and focused on her workhorse persona. The result was one of the most important offensive rebounds of the season for the Minutewomen.

With 1:48 left in the game and UVM up by two, Nelson chucked up a trifecta from the top of the key. The shot caromed off the front of the rim but underneath the boards, a battling Butler grabbed the rock and put home the lay-up – tying the score at 48.

Butler was a madwoman on the boards, but if she only shot two-for-seven in the game, how was she able to rack up those 11 points? Easy – by following her coach’s orders.

No. 21 went seven-for-seven from the charity stripe against UVM, including two clutch free throws with eight seconds left to give UMass a five-point lead and breathing room en route to its fourth victory of the season.

“I talked to [Jen] after the Toledo game and said, ‘you have to make your free throws, you are going to be fouled a lot.’ And she stepped it up tonight,” Dacko said.

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