December 8, 2009

Bulldogs Travel To Unbeaten Indiana State

2009 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (4-3) vs. Indiana State (7-0) 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 6 p.m. ET
Terre Haute, Ind. - Hulman Center

 

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Bulldogs Travel To Undefeated Indiana State

Coming off two straight wins, the Butler women's basketball team will travel to unbeaten Indiana State Wednesday, Dec. 9 for a 6 p.m. game at the Hulman Center. The Bulldogs defeated Evansville and Miami (Ohio) last week and are looking to go two games over .500 for the first time this season. Live stats and live audio can be found at ButlerSports.com.

 

The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines

 

1. Bulldogs Go 2-0 Last Week: Butler picked up a pair of wins at home last week, defeating Evansville (77-41) and Miami (Ohio) (68-60) to improve to 4-3 this season. Butler's 77-41 win over Evansville Wednesday night was the program's largest margin of victory over a Division I team since the Bulldogs defeated UIC, 87-43, on Feb. 11, 1999.  Additionally, the win over UE was tied for the 24th largest margin of victory in school history. The Bulldogs led for the final 26 minutes and by as many as 14 second half in the victory over Miami.

2. 2008-09 A Historic Season: Butler, in its 35th season of varsity women's basketball, 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.

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 On Fire: Brittany Bowen is second in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (37-for-63, .587). The 5-foot-10 junior guard went for a season-high 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting against Evansville. She followed that with a double-double (18 pts-10 rebs) vs. Miami. Bowen is averaging 14.0 points per game and is also shooting 7 for 16 (.438) from 3-point range.

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 six 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, but she missed the Evansville game. Bowen, a preseason second-team honoree, has been the team's leading scorer four times this season.

 

 Better Off The Bench?: Butler's usual starting guards have posted their best performances in games coming off the bench. Alyssa Pittman has started four games this season, but she is averaging 11.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in games off the bench.  In five games as a starter, Brittany Bowen is averaging 12.2 points per game, but that number goes up to 18.5 points when she comes off the bench.

...Pitt's Best Game At BU: Alyssa Pittman came off the bench for 14 points and made four 3-pointers against Miami. It was her highest point total as a Bulldog. She also had a 13-point performance at Saint Louis.

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.

...Stat Sheet Stuffer: Melanie Thornton posted impressive numbers across the box score last week. In two games, she averaged 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.0 blocks.

Becca ‘Born' Ready: Becca Bornhorst has been BU's best freshman. She scored a career-best 14 points and had seven rebounds vs. Evansville. The Ohio native had 11 points vs. Syracuse in Cancun, just days after scoring six points and pulling in eight rebounds at Saint Louis.

...Two Freshmen Making Shots: Becca Bornhorst and Claire Freeman are shooting a combined 22 for 43 (.512) from the floor this season. Bornhorst is shooting 50 percent while Freeman is 7 for 13 on the year.

More On Bowen: Brittany Bowen has been BU's high scorer four times this season, racking up 16 at Kentucky and 17 vs. IPFW. The Columbus, Ind., native went for 19 points against Evansville and 18 vs. Miami. Dating back to last season, Bowen has scored in double figures in 14 of Butler's last 16 games.

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.

No Lazy Susan: Susan Lester, who missed the last two games due to injury, is Butler's leading scorer (14.2) and rebounder (6.6). 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.

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 15 wins shy of Linda Mason's (1976-84) school-record 124 wins. Couture needs five 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 19-9 since the calendar turned to 2009, its best calendar year since going 21-8 in 2007. BU has four games remaining before 2010 strikes.

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 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds and playing 25.0 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.

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 owns three double-digit scoring outings this season. Pittman is a career .371 3-point shooter and has 164 career treys.

Last Year's Catalyst: Indiana State defeated Butler, 66-63, just before Christmas last season, but the loss served as a wake-up call to the Bulldogs. BU won eight straight games after losing to the Sycamores, and it didn't lost a game for 37 days.

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.

Butler Vs. MVC: Butler is 5-2 against Missouri Valley Conference schools over the past three seasons. That includes a 1-1 mark against Indiana State.

Butler Needs To Guard Her: ISU's Kelsey Luna scored 27 points and made six 3-pointers against BU last season. Luna's total tied for the most points scored against the Bulldogs last season. Cleveland State's Kailey Klein also scored 27 against Butler last season.

Defending Well In First Half: Butler has played its best defense in the first half of games this season. Opponents average just 27.3 points in the first half this season. BU has held IPFW (21 points), Northern Iowa (16) and Evansville (20) to season-low scoring totals in the first half.

Local Bulldog: Dragana Grbic, a freshman on Butler's roster, is from Terre Haute and was an all-state player at Terre Haute South High School. She is redshirting this season.

X-Factor: Brittany Bowen scored 18 points and made four 3-pointers against ISU last season. The Columbus, Ind., who is averaging 18.5 points over the past two games, was the only BU player in double figures against the Sycamores last season.