VALPARAISO, Ind. - Senior Melanie Thornton had 17 points, six rebounds and five blocks and BU went on a big second-half run as the Butler women's basketball team defeated Valparaiso, 66-52, Saturday night. Senior Susan Lester and sophomore Devin Brierly each added nine points.
With the win, Butler (14-7, 7-3 HL) is tied with Green Bay for second place in the Horizon League standings. League-leading Detroit is 9-2.
"I thought in the first five minutes of the second half we pretty much set the tone," head coach Beth Couture said. "That really helped our confidence playing here at Valpo because this is a place we haven't won a lot."
Raegan Moore led the Crusaders with 15 points. Lauren Kenney had 10 points and eight rebounds. Valparaiso shot just 31.3 percent from the floor.
Leading 30-27 early in the second half, Thornton and freshman Claire Freeman keyed a 16-2 run for Butler over a 3:39 span. A 3-point play by Thornton gave BU a 39-29 lead and moments later Freeman finished a 3-point play of her own after a steal to put the Dogs up 13. Two more buckets by Thornton finished the run and forced Valpo to call a timeout trailing 46-29.
Valparaiso trimmed BU's lead to 57-45 but a 3 by junior Alyssa Pittman and a 3-point play by Lester built the lead back to 63-46 with 2:53 left. Butler emptied its bench with 2:26 to play.
Butler had a 30-25 lead at halftime, overcoming Moore's 13 first-half points. A jumper by Freeman gave BU a 26-19 lead at the 3:54 mark. Valpo closed to within 26-23 but senior Amie Kabara scored four points to get the Butler lead back to seven until a Crusader lay-up just seconds before the halftime horn.
Butler's next game is Thursday, Feb. 11 at home vs. Youngstown State at 7 p.m.