GARDEN CITY, Kan. – The Butler women survived another road contest in western Kansas, holding off Garden City 71-67 at Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex on Saturday evening.
Butler never trailed in the second half, despite Garden City tying the game once and getting within a point on two other occasions.
After a Jurnee Reid basket with 14:20 to play, the Grizzlies led 21-10, but would give up a 14-1 run to Garden City over the next four minutes, as Garden went ahead 24-22.
Butler would trail 28-27 before getting four straight points from Brayden Byrd and a bucket from Amari Dennis to go up 33-28 with 3:37 left in the half. The Grizzlies would lead 37-30 with 1:18 left, but gave up the final four points of the period and saw the lead shrink to 37-34 at the half.
The Butler women then started hot again in the second half, going on an 11-3 run to start the period. A basket by Ashley Gibson put the Grizzlies up 48-37 with 16:04 to play. Garden City would once again chip away at Butler's lead and came all the way back to tie the game 55-55 with 6:36 to play. Butler regained the lead and pushed the lead back to five points twice, the latest at 67-62 after a pair of free throws by Amari Dennis with 1:35 to play.
Butler struggled at the free throw line down the stretch, making just two of next six attempts. Garden City cut the lead to 69-67 and had the ball with 12.8 seconds to go, but Amari Dennis drew a charging foul with 5.9 seconds left and Ashley Gibson made two free throws to seal the win.
Amari Dennis led Butler with a career-high 23 points, 14 of them in the first half. She also had six rebounds to lead Butler. Ashley Gibson had 13 points, while Jurnee Reid had nine.