Butler 68, CSU 54 - HL Semifinal
GREEN BAY, Wis. - For the second straight year, the Butler women's basketball team has earned a berth in the Horizon League Championship title game. No. 2 seed Butler got 57 points for seniors Chloe Hamilton, Alyssa Pittman and Brittany Bowen in a 68-54 win over No. 3 seed Cleveland State Friday night at the Kress Center.
Butler's four active seniors controlled the game. Hamilton and Pittman each scored 22 points and Bowen added 13.
"I tip my hat to our seniors. They still want to play together," head coach Beth Couture said. "Their bond is big right now. And all of our kids are together right now, wanting to win."
Butler (20-12) will take on either Wright State or #13/11 Green Bay in Sunday's championships game at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Butler took control of the game early in the second half, going inside to Hamilton and crashing the offensive glass. At one point, Hamilton scored seven straight points to give the Bulldogs a 51-43 lead. Pittman then followed with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to make it 56-43. A no-look runner by Pittman with the shot clock expiring gave Butler a 14-point lead with 5:13 left in the game.
The Bulldogs led by double digits for the game's last 5:57. Cleveland State didn't come closer than 5 at any point in the second half.
Garland was trouble for the Bulldogs in the first half, scoring 16 points. Butler made adjustments in the second half to shut down the Vikings' standout.
"Our zone neutralized Garland," Couture said. "She's such a good player one-on-one. And in the first half, we didn't find her well enough. But our zone was able to neutralize her."
The Bulldogs started the game about as well as a team could hope for, sprinting out to a 9-0 lead. Garland led CSU back into the game with an array of steals and 3-pointers. A lay-up by Bowen at the 6:23 mark gave BU a 24-17 advantage. The teams traded buckets for the rest of the half, and a Bowen 3-pointer from the top of the key just before halftime gave the Bulldogs a 36-29 lead.