The Butler women needed a big comeback to defeat No. 22 Cowley on the road on Wednesday on their way to a 75-65 victory.
In doing so, the sixth-ranked Grizzlies have clinched at least a share of the Jayhawk East Conference championship – the first conference title for the program since winning the Jayhawk West in 1995, a span of 19 years in between titles.
Butler started quickly, jumping out to a 7-2 lead early at W.S. Scott Auditorium. But then the Grizzlies went cold from the floor and Cowley took over. After the game was tied 11-11 with 11:19 to play, the Tigers would go on a 15-0 run over the next six minutes.
The Grizzies would regroup and finish the half on an 18-7 run, getting as close as four points at 35-31 at halftime. Then after the half, Butler scored 13 straight points, going up 44-35 for its biggest lead of the contest.
Cowley didn't go away at that point. Instead, the Tigers battled back and were within a points at 46-45 following a 3-pointer by Emilie Gronas with 11:45 to play. The Grizzlies would score seven straight points to go up 53-45.
Cowley used an 8-0 run to tie the game at 56-56 and the Tigers then took a 60-58 with 4:43 left on a pair of free throws by Emilie Gronas.
Cowley would get as close as three points but the Grizzlies were able to hit free throws down the stretch to eventually push the final margin to double digits.
Butler was led by Shayla Williams, who hit six 3-pointers to score 18 points. Katie Andersen scored 11 points and Ashlee Ivy scored 10 points for the Grizzlies. Teanna Reid and Terryauna Godwin had nine apiece, while Ashley Gibson scored eight and Te'era Williams had seven. It is the first time in 26 games this year that Williams has failed to score in double digits. She led Butler with 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, Cowley got a career night from Emilie Gronas, who scored 33 points to lead the Tigers.
Butler is now 26-1 overall and 9-0 in conference play. The Grizzlies can clinch the conference title outright with a home game on Saturday at home against Independence.