Bulldogs Host IPFW In Home Opener
IPFW (1-0) at Butler (0-1)
Wednesday, Nov., 18, 2009 - 7 p.m. ET
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse
Video: HLN (Mark Minner, Carl Heck)
Bulldogs Host IPFW In Home Opener
The Butler women's basketball team will host IPFW Wednesday, Nov. 18 in what will be the Bulldogs' home opener. Butler has defeated IPFW in four of the last five meetings, including a 72-56 win last year in Fort Wayne. BU is aiming to rebound after a season-opening loss at Kentucky on Sunday (Nov. 15).
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Dogs Coming Off Historic Season: Butler enters its 35th season of varsity women's basketball with the momentum of a program on the rise. The Bulldogs 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 the last two seasons. The last consecutive 20-win seasons for BU was 1994-95 and 1995-96.
2. 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 treaments, Couture is back on the sideline for her 8th season at Butler. Couture's last treatment came last week.
3. Bulldogs Looking For Win No. 1: Butler is searching for its first win over the season. The Bulldogs lost, 87-66, at Kentucky on Sunday. BU tied the game at 52 with 12:17 remaining but Kentucky pulled away late. Butler hasn't started a season 0-2 since 2003-04, when it lost a pair at Iowa.
4. Lester Reaches 1,000 Points: With 16:59 left in the game at Kentucky, Susan Lester knocked down a pair of free throws. The second free throw was her 1,000th career point. The senior forward scored 14 points at UK and now has 1,008 career points, 11 points shy of 19th on BU's all-time list. Lester, who averages 10.8 points per game for her career, became the 20th player in Butler history to reach 1,000 career points.
5. Lester, Bowen Grab Preseason HL Honors: Susan Lester and Brittany Bowen were each named preseason All-Horizon League in the league's preseason poll. Lester, who was a preseason second-team pick last year, was named to the first team and Bowen was voted to the second team. Butler was voted 3rd in the poll, following defending champion Green Bay and Cleveland State.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.
Burns Raising Her Game: Point guard Terra Burns is playing the best basketball of her Butler career. The junior from Peoria, Ill., scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting at Kentucky despite playing just 14 minutes due to foul trouble. In the WNIT last season, Burns had 13 points and seven steals at Marquette.
Bowen Leads At Kentucky: Brittany Bowen led BU with 16 points and seven rebounds in the season opener at Kentucky. All of Bowen's points came in the 1st half as she was 7-for-7 shooting at intermission.
Get Them Both Going At Once: Much like Brittany Bowen's 16 points in the 1st half, all 14 of Susan Lester's points came in the 2nd period at Kentucky.
Big, Tall Dogs: Although by just a fraction of an inch, this year's Butler team 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.
Pittman Brings Instant Offense: Alyssa Pittman, a transfer from Eastern Michigan, should be a key scorer for BU this season. Pittman, the 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year, scored 11 points in her Butler debut at Kentucky. The Elkhart, Ind., native averaged 12.3 points per game in two seasons at EMU. In just two seasons, she has made 152 career 3-pointers, which would be 4th in Butler history.
Postseason Victory: The Bulldogs' win over Duquesne in the WNIT was the program's first postseason win since a 95-90 WNIT victory over Bowling Green in 1998.
Butler Basketball Goes International: Beth Couture will be taking her team to Cancun, Mexico, for a pair of game during Thanksgiving weekend. The Bulldogs will take on Syracuse and Northern Iowa in the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 26-27.
Bulldogs In Hinkle: BU posted a 10-4 record in Hinkle Fieldhouse last year, with three of those losses coming by five points or less. Over the past two seasons, the Bulldogs are 20-9 at home.
Dominating The ‘Dons: Butler is 3-1 in the past four meetings against IPFW, with each win coming by at least 10 points. Here's a look at Butler's recent wins over the Mastodons:
2005-06: Butler 70, IPFW 60
2007-08: Butler 70, IPFW 55
2008-09: Butler 72, IPFW 56
Bulldogs Start Fast: The Bulldogs certainly didn't show many first-game jitters in Lexington, shooting 14-for-29 (.483) in the first half. Things cooled off a bit in the final 20 minutes, as BU shot 39.3 percent and ended up at 43.9 percent for the game.
Continuing A Strong 2009: Butler is 15-7 since the calendar turned to 2009, its best calendar year since going 21-8 in 2007. BU has 11 games during November and December this season.
Couture Chasing BU Wins Record: If Butler can duplicate what it has done the past two seasons, Beth Couture will be the winningest coach in BU history this season. Couture is just 19 wins shy of Linda Mason's (1976-84) school-record 124 wins. Couture needs nine victories to tie June Olkowski (1993-99) for 2nd place.
Winning Ways At Butler: The Bulldogs have recorded a winning record in each of the past four seasons, including 20 wins in each of the last two years. After going 14-14 in 2004-05, Butler posted records of 15-14, 16-15 and 20-10 before finishing 20-12 last season.
Need To Get Defensive: Butler was 17-4 last year when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points. Even better, BU was 14-0 (and 11-0 in league play) when yielding 50 or fewer points.
Need Help On The Boards: BU had a rough time on the boards at Kentucky, getting out-rebounded by a 46-29 margin. The Wildcats grabbed 22 offense rebounds, 17 of which were grabbed by Victoria Dunlap (33 pts, 18 rebs) and Amani Franklin (13 pts, 14 rebs).
Susan Looking For Repeat: Susan Lester had 14 points and 11 rebounds in Butler's 72-56 win over IPFW last year. She did her damage while playing just 22 minutes.
Party Like Its 2009: Butler is 15-7 in the 2009 calendar year, which is BU's second-best 12-month record since it went 21-8 in 2007. The Bulldogs can improve on that total with 10 more games during November and December.
X-Factor: Devin Brierly could be a player to keep an eye on Wednesday night. The sophomore had 10 points and five assists against the Mastodons last season, in what was just her 2nd collegiate game. She ended the season with three double-figure scoring performances, and Butler won each of those three games.