INDIANAPOLIS - Senior Melanie Thornton had 18 points, 10 rebounds and four steals and Butler head coach Beth Couture tied the school record for wins as Bulldog women's basketball routed Milwaukee, 59-41, Thursday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. With the win, Butler sets up a Saturday showdown with Green Bay for first place in the Horizon League standings.
Thornton shot 8-for-14 from the floor and also added two blocks. Twelve of her points came in the first half as BU (19-7, 12-3 HL) overcame a slow start to lead 32-15 at the halftime break.
A Thornton lay-up midway through the second half put the Bulldogs up 45-23 and Butler cruised from there. BU led 55-26 at the 7:36 mark and gradually emptied its bench over the final five minutes.
"I was really trying to concentrate on defense," Thornton said. "Once you do that, offense tends to come more easily. Our defense was definitely the difference tonight."
Butler is now 12-3 in Horizon League play and tied for first along with defending champ Green Bay. The Bulldogs host the Phoenix (23-3, 12-3) Saturday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The win was No. 124 for Couture, who is in her eighth season at Butler. That ties the school record, which was held by Linda Mason (1976-84).
"It's special. I love being at Butler and it's a tribute to all the great teams I've coached over the last eight years," Couture said. "But we're looking ahead to try and earn more wins in the future."
Junior Alyssa Pittman scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting. She had two highlight reel mid-range jumpers and her two 3-pointers late in the first half helped break the game open. Fellow junior Brittany Bowen added nine points.
Milwaukee (10-16, 5-10 HL) shot just 29.8 percent (17-for-57) for the night. UWM's Sami Tucker had a game-high 20 points.
The first-place showdown between BU and Green Bay tips off Saturday at 2 p.m.