INDIANAPOLIS - Junior Brittany Bowen scored 20 points to lead five Bulldog players in double figures as the Butler women's basketball team defeated Ball State, 82-67, Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Senior Melanie Thornton added 17 points, 16 rebounds and five steals for BU, which has won five of its last six games.
Junior Terra Burns scored 13 points - 10 coming in the first half - while senior Susan Lester had 11 points and junior Chloe Hamilton added 10.
Ball State's Emily Maggert had 26 points on 10-for-12 shooting and had 12 rebounds.
Bowen, Butler's leading scorer, shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range and 6-for-12 from the floor. She made all four of her free throw attempts.
Butler (7-4) built a 13-4 lead early and Ball State never recovered. The Cardinals cut the lead to five at one point but never got any closer than that the rest of the night. BU took its first double-digit lead at 33-23 with 4:41 remaining in the first half and the Bulldogs led 42-29 at halftime.
The Bulldogs led handily the entire second half. Ball State (5-7) cut the lead to 74-64 after a Maggert lay-up and then forced a Butler turnover after the basket. The Cardinals couldn't convert finished the contest with Bowen and Thornton making free throws and scoring in the paint.
The Bulldogs shot 40 percent from the floor and from beyond the 3-point arc while converting 80 percent (24-for-30) at the free throw line. Butler also had a 42-39 rebounding advantage and grabbed a season-high 21 offensive rebounds.
The Bulldogs' non-conference schedule is complete and the Dogs will open Horizon League play at home against Loyola Saturday, Jan. 2 at 6 p.m.
NOTES: Butler closes non-league play with a 7-4 record, the program's second-best mark under Beth Couture. The 2007-08 Bulldogs went 10-1...The game marked the first time Butler has won when its opponent shot for a higher field goal percentage. BSU out-shot Butler by 2.4 percent. BU is 1-4 when it shoots a lower percentage than its opponent...The 82-point performance was Butler's highest this season. The Bulldogs have now scored 80+ points in back-to-back games for the first time since November 1999...Melanie Thornton's 17 rebounds was a career high. Her previous high was 13, which she had done three times. Thornton has scored at least nine points in every game she has played this season...Brittany Bowen had 20 points, marking her sixth career 20-point game. Bowen is averaging 19.0 points per game over the last three games.