Whether they will admit it or not is one thing, but deep down, it would be hard for anyone in Seward green and white to say that going into Saturday nightís game with 6th place Butler, they werenít somewhat looking past the game with the Lady Grizzlies and forward their upcoming matchup with 20-0 and #2 Hutchinson on Wednesday in the Greenhouse. However, the 8th ranked Lady Saints stayed focused enough to come away with a 76-59 win over Butler in the Power Plant to claim their 11th straight win and setup the top 10 matchup later this week.

The game started in the cozy confines of the Power Plant and it looked as if someone greased up the game ball before the opening tip. Neither team seemed to be able to hold onto the ball early on and when they did, their shots werenít finding the hoop. Seward held the Lady Grizzlies to just 5 points in the first 8 minutes of the game and led 12-5 after a layup from Anete Kirsteine. Butler was able to get back into the game as the Lady Saints then went stagnant on offense and midway through the half it was 14-10 Seward County. In the first 10 minutes of the game the two teams combined for 16 turnovers, just 8 field goals, and more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds in the interesting start. Seward came out of the break with presence and went on a 10-2 run, sparked by six straight points from Payton Fleming to go on top 24-12 with 5 minutes to go. The Lady Saints took their biggest lead of the half on another Fleming bucket that made it 28-14 and they sailed into the half on top 34-21. Fleming torched the nets for 15 first half points on a perfect 6 of 6 shooting and 3 of 3 from downtown. Seward finished the half shooting 43% and committed just 3 turnovers in the final 10 minutes after coughing the ball up 9 times in the first 10. Butler made just 4 field goals in the first half on 22% shooting and turned the ball over 16 times.
Seward scored the first 4 points of the second half as Kayla Thomas and Kirsteine hit on midrange jumpers to extend their lead to 17 at 38-21 but the Lady Grizzlies bounced back and once again found themselves in the game, down just 10 with 12 minutes remaining. Every time the Lady Saints looked to put the game out of reach, Butler clawed back and were down just 8 with momentum on their side with 6 minutes left. Thatís when Kirsteine and fellow freshman Ricquia Jones came to the rescue. Kirsteine buried a big three from the wing for the Lady Saints to make it an 11 point game and Jonesí peskiness on the defensive end helped her to a pair of steals and scores to extend the lead. Jones finished the final 20 minutes of the game with 11 points on 4 of 4 shooting as well as ripping off 3 steals. Butler got back to within striking distance with just over a minute to go but the Lady Saints scored 9 points in the final 1:13 to make the final score look a little bit prettier at 76-59.
The Lady Saints shot just 39% in the game, their second lowest shooting percentage in a win this season. Fleming and Kirsteine both poured in 18 points to lead the way for Seward as Fleming finished 7 for 11 from the field and 3 of 4 from the three point line and Kirsteine was just 5 of 12 but hit on 4 of 9 from deep in the win. Jones had just 1 point in the first 30 mintues of the game but finished strong and ended up with 12 to go along with a game high 7 assists and a career high 8 steals. Ashlynn Knoll had 9 points and 6 rebounds for Seward and Mariah Lee had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
The win was the 11th straight for the Lady Saints who improve to 18-2 overall on the 2011-2012 campaign. They now sit at a perfect 7-0 in Jayhawk West action and will play #2 Hutchinson on Wednesday in the Greenhouse with 1st place on the line. The game will tip at 6:00 Wednesday with free tickets available thanks to our buyout sponsor Sunflower Bank at their Liberal location.