Bulldogs Take Win Streak To Dayton Monday
2009-10 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (6-3) vs. Dayton (9-2)
Monday, December 21, 2009 - 5 p.m. ET
Dayton, Ohio - UDArena
Bulldogs Take Winning Streak To Dayton
The Butler women's basketball team will take its four-game winning streak to Dayton Monday, Dec. 21 for a 5 p.m. contest at UD Arena. The Bulldogs are now 6-3 after a 65-48 win at Cincinnati last Sunday. The game at Dayton, which was ranked in the Top 25 before a loss last week, will be BU's final non-conference road game this season.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Bulldogs Win Fourth Straight: Butler is currently riding a four-game win streak, having picked up two home and two road victories the last two weeks. The Dogs opened December with a 77-41 win over Evansville and then went on to defeat Miami (Ohio) (68-60), Indiana State (67-60) and Cincinnati (65-48). The 36-point win over UE was Butler's largest margin of victory since 1999. The Bulldogs held double-digit leads in the second half against both MU and ISU before holding off late rallies. It marks the third time the Dogs have won four straight non-conference games under Beth Couture.
2. 2008-09 A Historic Season: Butler went 20-12 last season and advanced to the second round of the WNIT. It was Butler's first postseason berth since the 1998 team also went to the WNIT. Additionally, the Bulldogs have won 20 games in each of the last two seasons. The last consecutive 20-win seasons for BU was 1994-95 and 1995-96.
3. Coach Couture's Battle: BU head coach Beth Couture successfully battled breast cancer during the offseason. She was diagnosed last April and after 16 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatments, Couture is back on the sideline for her 8th season at Butler. Couture's last treatment came just days before the season opener at Kentucky.
4. Bowen Leading The Team: Junior Brittany Bowen, last season's leading scorer, has once again emerged as a go-to option on offense. Bowen is averaging a team-best 14.6 points per game while shooting .565 from the floor and .444 from 3-point range. The Columbus, Ind., native has led BU in scoring five times this season, including a 25-point effort at Cincinnati.
5. Winning Despite Injuries: Butler's four-game winning streak is more impressive when you consider it's been done despite the Bulldogs being hit with injuries. Senior All-Horizon League forward Susan Lester injured her foot and missed two games before being used sparingly last week. Sophomore Devin Brierly, a key sub who has also started four games this season, injured her ankle at Indiana State.
Let's Duplicate 2007: The last time Butler won four straight non-conference games, it was part of a 8-game win streak in 2007. Similarly to this season, the third win of that 2007 streak was a victory over Indiana State. The early-season wins helped BU get off to a 10-1 start en route to a 20-10 record.
More On Bowen: Brittany Bowen has been BU's top scorer five times this season. She tied her career high with 25 points at Cincinnati and has posted team highs vs. Kentucky (16), IPFW (17), Evansville (19), Miami (Ohio) (18). Against MU, Bowen had 18 points and 10 rebounds, her second career double-double.
Road Warriors: Butler is 3-1 in true road games this season, posting double-digit victories at Saint Louis and Cincinnati. The Bulldogs won 67-60 at Indiana State, but led by 20 at one point in the second half.
Pitt's Best Games At BU: Alyssa Pittman scored a season-high 16 points at Indiana State, just days after coming off the bench for 14 points against Miami. She made four 3-pointers in each of those games and they are her highest point totals as a Bulldog. She also had a 13-point outing at Saint Louis.
Stat Sheet Stuffer: Melanie Thornton has made an impact all over the floor this season. The senior forward is averaging 12.3 points, 7.7 boards and 2.0 steals per game. Thornton is coming off her two best games, having totaled 15 points and nine rebounds at Indiana State then 14 points and 13 rebounds at Cincinnati.
Making FTs in Close Games: Butler has three wins by single digits this season, and a big reason why is the Bulldogs are making free throws late in games. BU shot 46 for 59 (.780) in the second half of those three wins. At Indiana State, the Bulldogs sank 9 of 10 foul shots in the final 1:21.
...And In Large Wins As Well: BU is 34 for 45 (.756) at the free throw line in double-digit wins against SLU, Evansville and Cincinnati. Conversely, the Bulldogs are shooting 64% from the foul line in losses.
O-H-I-O: Butler is 18-8 against teams from the state of Ohio over the last three seasons, including a 7-2 mark last season.
Becca ‘Born' Ready: Becca Bornhorst has been BU's best freshman. She scored a career-best 14 points and had seven rebounds vs. Evansville. In BU's last game, the Ohio native had 10 points and six boards vs. Indiana State. Bornhorst is averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds over the last four games.
What If They Had Susan?: Susan Lester began the season as Butler's leading scorer and rebounder until she was slowed by a foot injury. The Anderson, Ind., native was averaging 14.2 points and 6.6 boards before getting hurt after the Cancun tournament. She was named to the all-tourney team in Mexico after averaging 11.5 points and 5.5 boards in the two games. Lester went for a double-double vs. IPFW (16 pts-14 rebs) and a season-high 18 points at Saint Louis.
Hamilton Plays Solid At The 4: Chloe Hamilton, starting at the ‘4' spot this season, is having her best season as a Bulldog. She is averaging 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds while playing 24.3 minutes per contest. The Michigan native tied her career best with 12 points vs. Evansville. Hamilton also had 10 points and five assists vs. Syracuse.
Tall Dogs: This year's Butler roster is the tallest squad since Beth Couture arrived on campus in 2002. BU's average height is 5-10 2/3, just a bit taller than the 2007 team.
More On Pittman: Alyssa Pittman, the 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year, has supplied Butler with another scoring threat after transferring from Eastern Michigan. The Elkhart, Ind., native owns four double-digit scoring outings this season. Pittman is a career .369 3-point shooter and has 169 career treys.
Just Make Shots: Sometimes basketball is simple: just make shots. Butler is 6-0 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than its opponent. The Dogs are 0-3 when the other team shoots better.
Party Like Its 2009: Butler is 20-9 since the calendar turned to 2009, its best calendar year since going 21-8 in 2007. BU has two games remaining before 2010 strikes.
Defending Well In First Half: Butler has played its best defense in the first half of games this season. Opponents average just 27.1 points in the first half this season. BU has held five opponents to less than 25 points in the first half: IPFW (21 points), Northern Iowa (16) and Evansville (20), Miami (24) and ISU (23).
Everyone Hits The Boards: In Butler's nine games, the Dogs have been led in rebounds by four different players. Melanie Thornton has the the team in boards three times, while Susan Lester, Becca Bornhorst and Brittany Bowen have each been the top rebounder twice.
Brierly Update: Devin Brierly, a sophomore guard who has started four games this season, hurt her ankle against Indiana State. She is not expected to play Monday.
Hands Off: BU committed just 12 fouls at Cincinnati resulting in a season-low five free throw attempts for the Bearcats. Butler's opponents have shot just 30 free throws over the last three games.
X-Factor: Butler didn't play well in a 69-49 loss to Dayton last year, but one Bulldog did play well. Melanie Thornton came off the bench for 18 points and eight rebounds, and the senior forward averaged 14.5 points and 11.5 rebounds last week.