PEORIA, Ill. - Seniors Chloe Hamilton and Brittany Bowen scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, but the Bulldogs' cold-shooting first half was too much to overcome in a 77-63 loss at Bradley Saturday afternoon.
Butler started its 36th varsity season by shooting 5-for-35 in the first half. BU got down by as many as 45-20 but rallied to cut it to 58-50 with 6:11 remaining. The Bulldogs didn't have enough to finish the comeback, however.
"I'm disappointed," head coach Beth Couture said. "We just couldn't score. Bradley shot the ball well, I have to give them credit. But we didn't match their effort and we weren't ready to play.
"On the positive side, we didn't give up. We battled. But we don't want to be in the situation where we're behind by a lot early and have to come back. We're going to work really hard to get this figured out."
The Bulldogs were short-handed due to injuries and went with a small lineup, with no player taller than 5-10. Butler had only one true post, freshman Sarah Hamm, in uniform.
"We missed some depth at the '4' and '5' spots, just having people to run through and play minutes," the ninth-year coach said. "But I didn't think the small lineup hurt us very much at all. We were getting a lot of offensive rebounds."
Butler played much better in the second half, shooting 45 percent and scoring 47 points. The Bulldogs finished 21for-25 at the free throw line, including 6-for-6 from Bowen.
Bradley's Katie Yohn had 16 points and Raisa Taylor scored 13 to lead the Braves. Bradley shot 51 percent for the game and 8-for-14 from beyond the arc.
Butler (0-1) hosts Saint Louis Wednesday, Nov. 17 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.