CHICAGO - Senior Melanie Thornton scored 18 points and the Butler women's basketball team made a series of late stops to preserve a 64-59 win at UIC Thursday evening. The win was historic on several fronts. BU (20-8) has now won 20 games for the third consecutive season. Also, head coach Beth Couture picked up win No. 125 and she has now won more games at Butler than any coach in school history.
The Bulldogs are now 13-4 in Horizon League play, and a win Saturday at Loyola would clinch second place in the league.
Senior Susan Lester added 11 points and junior Brittany Bowen had nine, all in the second half. Bowen's pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining iced the game for Butler.
"I'm proud of our team," Couture said. In the first half UIC was aggressive. "In the second half, I felt we were the aggressor and made the physical plays.
"I'm proud that our girls responded after a disappointing loss to Green Bay to pick up a road win against a good team."
Butler made four stops in the final 1:08. The key defensive stand came with 16 seconds to go. Butler led 62-59 and UIC's Shameia Green threw the ball out of bounds, nearly hitting the trail official. Bowen's free throws moments later provided the final margin.
Jessie Miller led UIC with 15 points. Jasmine Bailey had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The first half was an even battle as both teams each put together a run. UIC jumped out to an early 11-3 lead but the Bulldogs would go on a 10-0 run to take a 13-11 lead. BU led 25-22 and had the ball but a turnover and back-to-back 3s by Miller in the final 53 seconds gave the Flames a 28-25 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs continue their Chicago weekend Saturday at Loyola. Tip off at LUC is at 3 p.m. ET.