January 5, 2011

Bulldogs Start Important Road Swing At Wright State

2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (7-6, 1-0) at Wright State (8-5, 1-1)
Thursday, Jan. 6 - 7 p.m. ET
Nutter Center - Dayton, Ohio
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Bulldogs Open Tough Road Swing At Wright State

The Butler women’s basketball team will open a tough two-game road swing Thursday evening when it plays Wright State at the Nutter Center. BU has won five straight against the Raiders, but WSU has a winning record at 8-5. Butler follows that with a game at Detroit, another team projected to challenge in the Horizon League.

The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines

1. Horizon League Road Games: Butler has finished second in the Horizon League each of the past two seasons, and winning on the road in league play has been an important reason for that success. BU is 19-8 in HL play over the past three seasons, including a 7-2 mark on the road last season. The Bulldogs went 6-3 away from Hinkle in 2009 and 2008 Horizon League seasons.

2. Who’s Out There First?: Butler has been able to employ many different starting lineups this season due the versatility of the players as well as the team’s depth. The Bulldogs have started three different post players and sometimes have chosen to play a smaller, faster lineup with Brittany Bowen at the ‘4’ and Chloe Hamilton at the ‘5’. Beth Couture has used eight different starting lineups through 13 games, including six 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 three seasons previous to this year. 

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 this season with at least 23 points, currently stands fifth in the Horizon League with 15.8 points per game. She is among the league’s top shooters percentage-wise: field goal percentage (5th), 3-point shooting (1st), free throw shooting (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-Wright State Series: Butler leads the all-time series with Wright State 26-15, and has won five straight against the Raiders.

BU vs. Ohio Opponents: Butler is 20-10 since 2007 against opponents from the state of Ohio. That includes a 5-2 mark against Wright State, and a 15-6 record against Horizon League teams from Ohio.

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.

...And She’s Chasing 400: Beth Couture owns 393 career wins in her head coaching career. Only 48 other coaches in all of NCAA basketball have 400 career victories. Couture entered the season 49th among active coaches in wins.

1,000 Point Scorers: In Butler’s win over IUPUI in November, 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 1,128 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 1,144 for her career.

Common Opponents: Butler and Wright State have played two common opponents - IUPUI and Ball State. Butler went 2-0 against those opponents, while WSU finished 1-1, including a 64-63 loss at Ball State.

Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen, coming off an 18-point double-double effort vs. Valparaiso, is fifth in the league averaging 15.8 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.

Sharpshooter: Brittany Bowen is arguably one of the best shooters in the Horizon League. The 5-10 senior is the league leader in 3-point percentage (.475), having made 3 of 4 vs. Valpo. She is the only player in the HL in the top 5 in field goal percentage (5th), 3-point percentage (1st) and free throw percentage (2nd). 

Bowen Nationally: In the most recent NCAA stats, Brittany Bowen rates 37th in the nation in free throw percentage (868). She also stands 95th in the country in field goal shooting. Had she had enough attempts, Bowen would stand 6th in the nation in 3-point percentage.

National Team Rankings: The Bulldogs stand 60th in the nation in assists per game (15.3). BU is also 64th in the country in free throw percentage (.719). 

Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton is having her best season, averaging 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The 5-10 senior tallied a career-high 21 points vs. Coastal Carolina and has been a consistent scorer, notching double figures in nine of Butler’s 13 games. She’s also been efficient, ranking second in the conference with a .568 shooting percentage. 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. 

Injury Bug: Butler has been a victim of injuries this season more than most. Three players who have started a game this season have missed extended periods of time, and another player has recently been hospital-bound due to illness. Senior point guard Terra Burns was injured at Notre Dame and hasn’t played since. She was averaging 8.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists before getting injured. Freshman center Sarah Hamm, averaging 7.0 points per game, has suffered an ACL injury and is out for the year. Becca Bornhorst has missed several games due to injuries this year and Elizabeth Jennings was recently ill.

Young Posts To Be Counted On: 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.

Life After Mel: Butler has been charged this seasonwith the task of replacing the 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year in Melanie Thornton. Last year, 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.

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.

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 50-21 (.704) in league play since 2007. 

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 .383 in the first 20 minutes. As a result, Butler is scoring 27.9 points per game in the first half compared to 37.5 points in the second half. BU’s scoring margin in the first halves of games is -3.0, compared to +2.9 in the second half.

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 a 13-1 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.

That Just Happened: It’s hard to explain Butler’s wild 105-98 double-overtime win at Ball State on Dec. 12. 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.

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 13.8 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 11 of 13 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 (37), Brittany Bowen (34) and Sarah Hamm (23) lead the team in offensive rebounds.

Here’s A Stat To Watch: If Thursday’s contest is a close game late, the Bulldogs could be at an advantage because of free throw shooting. As a team, BU shoots .719 from the foul line, while WSU is converting at a .661 rate. Butler has also made nearly twice as many free throws this season (207-111).

Up Next: After Saturday’s game in Detroit, Butler will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse for Cleveland State and Youngstown State Jan. 13-15.