DETROIT - The Butler women's basketball team finished the game with a 17-2 run and erased a late deficit to defeat Horizon League leader Detroit, 72-62, at Detroit's Calihan Hall. Senior Melanie Thornton had 17 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and two blocks to lead the Bulldogs.
Detroit, led by point guard Jalesa Jones, led 60-55 with 3:50 remaining before Butler finished the game with a flurry of big shots and defensive stops.
The Bulldogs (17-7, 10-3 HL) 61-59 with less than 2 minutes left, sophomore Devin Brierly hit a 3 from the left wing and buckets by Thornton and senior Susan Lester gave the Bulldogs a 66-61 lead with 36 seconds to go. Senior Alyssa Pittman stripped Jones on the next possession and Butler iced the game with free throws by Brierly and Thornton.
The win makes things crowded atop the Horizon League standings. Detroit (13-12) technically retains a half-game lead at 11-3 in league play, with Butler at 10-3 and Green Bay also with three losses. BU has defeated the Titans twice this season and would get the edge in the event of a tie.
Junior Chloe Hamilton had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting and Brierly added a season-high 12 points.
Detroit's Brigid Mulroy had 22 points and hit 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Jones had 17 points and seven assists.
Butler appeared to be in control in the second half, leading for more than 10 minutes before Mulroy and Jones brought the Titans back. A runner by Jones put the Titans up one and a 3-pointer by Mulroy extended UDM's lead to 54-50 and forced Butler to call a timeout with 8:59 remaining. Butler would answer with five straight points to go back up one.
The first half went back and forth, with Butler leading by as many as eight and at one point by four. Detroit led 31-30 and had the ball in the final seconds before halftime when Pittman made two big plays. She took a charge to get BU one last possession and she hit a 3 at the other end at the first-half buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 33-31 halftime lead.
Butler continues its road swing Saturday, Feb. 20 at Wright State.
NOTES: Butler has now defeated Detroit 10 straight times, dating back to 2006...Butler improves to 10-3 in HL play, marking the seventh time in school history the Dogs are 10-3 or better after 13 conference games...The Bulldogs have won eight of the last nine game and five straight...Melanie Thornton's performance was her eighth double-double of the year and third straight...Devin Brierly had 12 points, one shy of her career high. She scored 13 vs. Evansville last year...Butler out-rebounded Detroit by a 39-30 margin.