FINAL: Butler 65, VCU 45 (Indianapolis, Ind. – Hinkle Fieldhouse)
VCU STARTERS: #1 Atwater, #3 Green, #14 Adebayo, #20 Alaeze, #24 Parks
BUTLER STARTERS: #1 Schippers, #10 McDivitt, #11 Douglas, #21 McClung, #32 Raker
THE BASICS: Junior forward Robyn Parks registered her seventh 20-point performance of the season with a team-best 21 to go along with eight rebounds, while freshman Kaneisha Atwater finished with 12 points and seven boards, but VCU fell to a red hot Butler squad 65-45 Sunday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs, led by Daress McClung's game-high 25 points, won their fourth straight game and sixth in their last seven.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Atwater and Parks each had four points apiece as VCU (8-12, 1-4 A-10) held an early 8-5 lead four minutes in.
- After senior Robyn Hobson answered with a triple from the top of the arc to knot the game at 11-11 with 13:41 showing, Butler (13-7, 4-1 A-10) caught fire and used a 13-5 spurt to take an eight-point lead. Daress McClung scored four points during the run, including a traditional 3-point play to give the Bulldogs a 24-16 advantage at the 6:18 mark.
- The Rams, who were held scoreless during a six-minute stretch, returned the favor after McClung's basket and kept Butler off the board during the final 6:18 of the half.
- Parks, who scored the final four points of the opening stanza, converted a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 24-20 with 11.3 seconds left. VCU then held strong on the defensive end, forcing a Butler turnover to keep it a four-point game at the break.
- VCU forced a shot clock violation on Butler's first possession of the second half. Atwater then knocked down a triple and an and-one from Parks cut the Rams' deficit to 29-28 with 16:48 left.
- However, Butler scored six straight to go back up by seven just over a minute later before the Rams cut their deficit to 35-31 at the 14:27 mark.
- McClung again responded with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc on the Bulldogs' next possession. She then picked up her third foul with 12:50 to go but VCU couldn't take advantage. Taylor Schippers buried a triple from the left corner and McClung, who did not stay on the bench for long, converted a layup to give Butler its largest lead at the time, 43-33, with just over nine minutes to play.
- A basket from Parks made it an eight-point game on the Rams' ensuing possession, but Butler erupted scoring 16 of the next 20 points and went up by as many as 20 on three occasions the rest of the way.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Parks scored 13 of her team-high 21 points in the second half.
- Atwater, who has made five straight starts, scored in double figures for the seventh time in her last nine games.
- Senior Carleeda Green dished out six assists for the eighth time this year and third in the last five outings.
- Parks and senior Daphne Adebayo pulled down a team-high eight rebounds apiece as the Rams held a 43-40 edge on the glass.
- Butler shot 54 percent (14-of-26) from the field in the second half, including 82 percent (9-of-11) from the free throw line.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 30 against No. 17 Dayton. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The Rams then travel to Fordham on Feb. 3 before hosting Saint Joseph's on Feb. 6. Check VCUAthletics.com for complete game coverage.