Bulldogs Open League Play
2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball
Bulldogs Open League Play vs. Valparaiso
The Butler women’s basketball team will host Valparaiso in its Horizon League opener Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs will be looking to rebound from two straight losses, while Valpo comes in off a win against Eastern Illinois.
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. Horizon League Opener: Butler is 14-10 all-time in Horizon League (or MCC) league openers. Butler has started 1-0 in conference action in four of the last five years, having lost at Valparaiso to start HL play back in 2008. The Bulldogs have started league play at home in each of the last two years and won both games. Beth Couture is 6-2 in Horizon League openers.
2. Who’s Out There First?: Butler has been able to employ many different lineups this season due the versatility of the players as well as the team’s depth. Beth Couture has used seven different starting lineups through 12 games, including five different lineups once.
3. 3 Straight 20s: Butler has won 20 games in each of the past three seasons, the first time the team has achieved that as a Division I program. The Bulldogs went 20-10 in 2007-08 and followed that with a 20-12 season in 2008-09. Last year’s mark of 23-10 was the team’s most wins since the 1997-98 Bulldogs went 25-6 under June Olkowski. Butler has gone 63-32 during the last three seasons.
4. Bowen Among The League Leaders: Brittany Bowen, who scored a career-high 30 points in Butler’s win over Indiana State and has four outings with at least 23 points, currently stands fifth in the Horizon League with 15.6 points per game. She is among the league’s top 6 in field goal percentage (5th), 3-point shooting percentage (2nd) and free throw percentage (3rd).
5. Closing 2010: The Bulldogs finished the 2010 calendar year with a record of 22-12, the most wins in a calendar year since the team won 23 games in 1998. The total of 22 wins is tied for fifth most in school history. The school record for wins in a calendar year is 25, set in 1981. BU went 21-10 in the 2009 calendar year.
Butler-Valparaiso Series: Butler leads the all-time series with Valparaiso 18-5. BU has won four of the last five meetings against Valpo and is 4-3 against the Crusaders since they joined the Horizon League in 2007. Beth Couture is 4-4 against Valparaiso, including a 3-0 mark at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
1,000 Point Scorers: With six points in Butler’s win over IUPUI, Brittany Bowen became the 21st player in Butler history to score 1,000 career points. The 5-10 senior reached the mark with a lay-up at the 16:05 mark of the first half. Bowen now has 1,110 points as a Bulldog. Additionally, Alyssa Pittman crossed the 1,000-point mark last season. She scored 715 points in her two years at Eastern Michigan and now has 1,136 for her career.
Dawgs Eating Up Indiana: Butler has made a habit of winning in the state of Indiana. BU is 12-4 in its last 16 games against in-state opponents. The Bulldogs are 3-2 this season, with wins over IUPUI, Indiana State and Ball State. Dating back to the 2007-08 season, BU is 18-6 against Indiana schools.
Common Opponents: Butler and Valparaiso played four common opponents in non-conference action: Ball State, Evansville, Coastal Carolina and Notre Dame. Butler went 2-2 against those schools, while Valpo went 1-3. Butler also fared much better against Notre Dame than Valparaiso did, playing the Irish 20 points closer.
That Just Happened: It’s hard to explain Butler’s wild 105-98 double-overtime win at Ball State last Sunday. The Bulldogs trailed by 14 in the second half before outscoring BSU 32-18 over a span of 10:36. Ball State made what appeared to be a game-winning buzzer beater but it was ruled the shot wasn’t off in time. Butler would need a late bucket in the first OT to extend the game another period before fending off the Cardinals. Six Bulldogs scored in double figures, and four fouled out.
Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen, coming off a 23-point effort at South Carolina, is fifth in the league averaging 15.6 points this season. In addition to scoring 30 against ISU, the 5-10 senior has two outings with 26 points this season, coming against Saint Louis and Wake Forest. She also has posted two 25-point performances prior to this season.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 134 victories at Butler, owns the most women’s basketball wins in Butler history. Couture last season passed Linda Mason (1976-84), who won 124 games. The record-breaking victory came at UIC on March 4 of last season.
Sharpshooter: Brittany Bowen is arguably one of the best shooters in the Horizon League. She is the only player ranked among the league leaders in FG percentage (6th), 3-point percentage (2nd) and free throw percentage (3rd). Also, she’s the only player in the top 6 in all three categories.
Bowen Nationally: In the most recent NCAA stats, Brittany Bowen rates 33rd in the nation in free throw percentage. She also stands 94th in the country in field goal shooting.
Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton is having her best season, averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. She led Butler with 17 points in the loss to Bowling Green. The 5-10 senior tallied a career-high 21 points vs. Coastal Carolina and has been a consistent scorer, notching double figures in eight of Butler’s 12 games. Hamilton burst into the starting lineup last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game after playing sparingly her first two seasons.
A Fresh Start: Butler went with a new starting lineup against Coastal Carolina, inserting young guards Jenna Cobb and Claire Freeman into the lineup. Cobb, making her first career start, had four points and four assists. The Ohio native made two key baskets in the final 24 seconds of the first half to give BU a 38-28 halftime lead against CCU. Freeman, who has started the last three games, grabbed a career-best eight rebounds against Coastal.
Hamm Learning Quickly: Freshman center Sarah Hamm has emerged as an effective interior player. The 6-2 rookie is averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. She has started nine games this season, scoring in double figures five times. She posted career highs with 15 points eight rebounds against Ball State. She also scored 12 against Coastal Carolina and 11 vs. Ohio Dominican and Indiana State.
Chloe Named All-Tourney: Chloe Hamilton was named to the WBCA All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.3 points and 8.0 rebounds over the three games at Notre Dame. Hamilton started the weekend with a career-best 19 points vs. Wake Forest, then she matched that output in a win over IUPUI. She finished the weekend with 11 points and eight rebounds against Notre Dame.
Life After Mel: Butler is charged with the task of replacing the 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year in Melanie Thornton. Last season, the 6-1 Thornton averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds while leading the team in steals and blocks. Thornton had at least 10 points in 25 of her last 27 games, while leading the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. Thornton had 12 double-doubles and was also named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year.
Conference Wins Record: In each of the past two seasons, Butler has set a school record with 14 league victories. The Bulldogs have posted back-to-back 14-4 conference seasons and are 49-21 (.700) in league play over the last four seasons.
No Burns For The Bulldogs: Terra Burns, BU’s starting point guard and team co-captain, has not played since suffering a leg injury against Notre Dame in November. She continues to be evaluated. The 5-9 senior was averaging 8.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists before getting injured.
Bulldogs Finish Second: Butler placed second in both the Horizon League regular season and the league tournament last year. After going 14-4 and finishing one game behind champion Green Bay, BU defeated Wright State and Detroit to advance to the league tourney final. No. 4 seed Cleveland State won the league championship game.
After Halftime, Try Again: After 12 games, it seems Beth Couture’s halftime speeches make the Bulldogs shoot better. Butler is shooting .438 from the floor after halftime, compared to just .381 in the first 20 minutes. As a result, Butler is scoring 28.2 points per game in the first half compared to 38.2 points in the second half. Butler played a poor first half against Indiana State, trailing by 13 at halftime. The Bulldogs then won the second half 52-30 against the Sycamores. BU was down at the half at Ball State before going on a late run and winning in double overtime.
Couture’s Cause: In April 2009, Beth Couture was diagnosed with breast cancer. She finished treatments and radiation at a fast pace, just in time to return to the sideline for last season’s opener. Couture is now cancer-free and an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness. She walked 38 miles over a two-day span for St. Vincent’s Weekend To End Breast Cancer during the fall.
BU Among Mid-Majors: Butler’s success over the past three seasons has made noise nationally around mid-major women’s basketball. The Bulldogs were picked No. 22 in the first Mid-Major Top 25 poll by CollegeInsider.com. BU has since dropped out of the top 25. Green Bay, after an 11-1 start with wins over three Big Ten teams, has moved to No. 1. Beth Couture and Detroit’s Autumn Rademacher represent the Horizon League on the mid-major poll.
All ‘O’ Board: Playing significant minutes with a small lineup hasn’t stopped Butler from being aggressive on the offensive boards. BU is second in the league with 14.3 offensive rebounds a game. BU leads the conference in offensive rebounding percentage, hauling in 36.6 percent of its missed shots. Butler has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 10 of 11 games this season, with two outings of 19 offensive boards. The Bulldogs rank third in the HL in rebounding margin at +1.7. Chloe Hamilton (35), Brittany Bowen (31) and Sarah Hamm (22) lead the team in offensive rebounds.
Here’s A Stat To Watch: Butler and Valparaiso are the Horizon League’s two bottom teams in defensive scoring. Valpo gives up a league-high 70.8 points per game while BU is ninth at 69.6 points per game. Defense will be a key in Sunday’s match-up.
Up Next: Butler will open Horizon League play at home against Valparaiso Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs have won three of its last four against the Crusaders.