Butler Hosts Evansville Wednesday Night
2009 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (2-3) vs. Evansville (0-5)
Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 7 p.m.
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse
Live Video: Horizon League
Network (Will Haskett and Lade Akande)
Bulldogs Host Evansville Wednesday Night
Coming off a trip to Cancun, Mexico, the Butler women's basketball team hosts Evansville Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. The game is the first of two home games this week for the Bulldogs. The game can be seen live at HorizonLeagueNetwork.tv.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Dogs Coming Off Historic Season: Butler is in its 35th season of varsity women's basketball and has 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 in each of the last two seasons. The last consecutive 20-win seasons for BU were 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 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.
3. Bulldogs Know How To Bounce Back: During the past three seasons, Butler is 6-4 in games directly after multiple consecutive losses. BU twice last season played coming off multiple losses and the Bulldogs won by double figures each time, including a 70-52 win at Evansville. Butler has only lost three in a row once during the past 88 games.
4. Butler Beating Indiana Opponents: The Bulldogs are 10-8 against in-state opponents during the past three seasons, with that mark including two losses to Purdue and one to Indiana. Butler has won three of its last four games against Evansville. In addition, Beth Couture has never lost to Evansville at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
5. Lester, Bowen Leading The Team: Susan Lester and Brittany Bowen each garnered preseason All-Horizon League honors, and they have been the team's leaders through five games. Lester, a preseason first-team all-conference pick and an all-tournament player in Cancun, is averaging 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She had a season-high 18 points at Saint Louis and a double-double (16 pts-14 rebs) vs. IPFW. Bowen was the team's leading scorer against Kentucky and IPFW and is averaging 12.2 points while shooting nearly 59 percent from the field.
Cancun Recap: Butler went 0-2 in the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic, dropping contests to Syracuse and Northern Iowa. In the first game, BU trailed by five at the half and cut the SU lead to 60-53 with 6:30 remaining before losing, 80-64. Butler led by six at halftime against UNI, but the Panthers shot 17-for-25 in the second half to edge the Bulldogs, 65-60.
She's No Lazy Susan: Susan Lester has shaken off an offseason injury to lead Butler with 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. The senior from Anderson, Ind., was named to the all-tourney team in Cancun after averaging 11.5 points and 5.5 boards in the two games. After netting 14 points at Kentucky, Lester went for a double-double vs. IPFW (16 pts-14 rebs) and a season-high 18 points at SLU.
...More on Susan: With a free throw in the second half at Kentucky, Susan Lester became the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. With 1,065 points, she is 15 points shy of 16th on Butler's all-time list.
Bowen A Sharp Shooter: Last season, Brittany Bowen was among the Horizon League leaders in 3-point and free throw shooting. The junior guard is currently shooting 24-for-41 (.585) from the floor, good for 2nd in the league. She is averaging 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Big, 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 Bowen: Brittany Bowen was BU's high scorer in each of the season's first two games, racking up 16 at Kentucky and 17 vs. IPFW. The Columbus, Ind., native added 11 points at Saint Louis and 13 vs. Northern Iowa in Cancun. Dating back to last season, Bowen has scored in double figures in 12 of Butler's last 14 games.
Welcome Back: Melanie Thornton didn't waste much time making an impact in her first action this season. The senior forward, who sat out the season's first three games, scored 14 points vs. Syracuse and followed that with 10 points, seven boards and three steals vs. Northern Iowa.
‘Ace-ing' The Aces: Butler has won three of four vs. Evansville, including a 70-52 win at UE last season. Butler leads the all-time series, 20-15, including an 11-6 mark at home. Beth Couture is 4-3 against the Aces and has not lost to UE in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Burns Raising Her Game: Terra Burns has been playing at a high level at the point guard position. The junior scored 12 points in 14 minutes at Kentucky and is averaging 7.4 points and 3.6 assists this season. Burns leads the team at the free throw line, making 10 of her 11 tries (.909).
Becca ‘Born' Ready: Becca Bornhorst has been BU's best freshman. She scored a career-best 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting vs. Syracuse, just days after scoring six points and pulling in eight rebounds at Saint Louis. Bornhorst is playing 14.2 minutes per game and is normally the second post player off the bench.
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 17 wins shy of Linda Mason's (1976-84) school-record 124 wins. Couture needs seven 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, respectively, before finishing 20-12 last season.
Party Like Its 2009: Butler is 17-9 since the calendar turned to 2009, its best calendar year since going 21-8 in 2007. BU has six games remaining before 2010 strikes.
Hamilton Plays Solid At The 4: Chloe Hamilton, starting at the ‘4' spot this season, is averaging 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest. After posting seven points,11 rebounds and four steals vs. IPFW, the Michigan native scored 10 points and added five assists vs. Syracuse. She leads the team in steals (6) and is 2nd in assists (10).
Pittman Providing A Presence: Alyssa Pittman, the 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year while at Eastern Michigan, has supplied Butler with another scoring threat. The Elkhart, Ind., native had 11 points at Kentucky and 13 at Saint Louis. Pittman is a career .373 3-point shooter and has 158 career treys.
Everybody Getting Minutes: Eleven different Bulldog players are currently averaging at least 9.0 minutes of playing time per game. Ten players are seeing at least 11.0 minutes of time. Last year, nine players saw double-digit minutes.
Holiday Travel: With the trip to Cancun, Butler has set a new standard for playing in exotic locations during Thanksgiving break. The bar was already set pretty high, as BU has traveled to California (2002, 2005), Florida (2003, 2007), Alaska (2006), Saint Louis (2004) and New Mexico (2008) during recent seasons.
Brierly Off The Bench: Devin Brierly is averaging 18.6 minutes per game and has usually been Butler's first guard off the bench. The sophomore scored eight points while playing 25 minutes vs. IPFW. Her trey against the Mastodons with 5:25 remaining gave Butler an 8-point lead and the Bulldogs never trailed again. For her efforts, she was given the starting nod at SLU. Brierly also scored six points vs. Northern Iowa.
Starting Fast Until...: Butler shot at least 44 percent in the first half in each of its first four games. The hot start didn't continue against Northern Iowa, as the Bulldogs converted on just 26 percent of their shots. Despite the cold shooting, BU led 22-16 at halftime against UNI.
Need To Guard In Second Half: Butler has not fared well defensively in the second half in each of its three losses. BU is allowing 44.3 points in the final period vs. Kentucky (44 points), Syracuse (44) and Northern Iowa (49).
X-Factor: Melanie Thornton had a big game against Evansville last season, going for 17 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. The Carmel, Ind., native averaged 12.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games in Cancun.