VALPARAISO, Ind. - Senior Brittany Bowen scored all 16 of her points in the second half and the Butler women's basketball team pulled away late in the game to defeat Valparaiso, 58-47, Saturday at the ARC. For Butler, the win clinched the No. 2 spot in Horizon League standings and upcoming league tournament.
Senior Alyssa Pittman scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Bulldogs, who finish second in the league for the third straight year.
The Bulldogs (18-12, 12-6) led for most of the game, albeit by a slim margin. A 16-6 run that featured seven points from Pittman late in the game was the decisive stretch in the game. Butler smothered Valparaiso with defensive pressure for the entire day, holding the Crusaders to 26 percent shooting.
Senior Chloe Hamilton, who is BU's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, was only partially available due to a concussion. With Hamilton playing sparingly and Bowen in early foul trouble, the Crusaders managed to keep the game close. Valparaiso had an 18-17 lead with 6:48 to play in the first half. Sophomore Becca Bornhorst hit a 3-pointer to take back the lead for Butler.
The Dawgs led 25-20 when Valpo's Stefanie Lang connected with a 3-point play to make Butler's lead at halftime 25-23. Valpo started the second half strong with back-to-back treys but Bowen, Pittman and the Bulldogs made the necessary plays down the stretch to pick up the road win.
"Bri really stepped up. I knew if we were in the game in the first half with her not in there, we'd be OK," head coach Beth Couture said. "She was big in the second half and then we made stops and made key shots to pick up the win."
Hamilton, who was cleared to play a day before the game, finished with seven points in 22 minutes.
Butler will host the winner of Valparaiso and Detroit in a league tourney quarterfinal next Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m.