Butler Continues League Play With Detroit
The Butler women’s basketball team, now 8-1 in league play, hosts Detroit Thursday evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs have already captured a 72-66 win at Detroit earlier this year, and are just one game out of first place in the league standings.
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. 8-1 At The League Turn: Butler is 8-1 halfway through league play for the first time since the Horizon League went to an 18-game schedule in 2008. The Bulldogs were 7-2 last year after nine conference games. It is BU’s best league start since the 1998 Bulldogs were also 8-1. That squad, coached by June Olkowski, lost its league opener before winning 13 straight games.
2. Chloe At .607: Chloe Hamilton is now shooting better than 60 percent this season (.607) after her 17-for-19 shooting last week against Green Bay and Milwaukee. Her .607 field goal percentage ranks sixth in the nation, and she’s one of only eight players shooting 60 percent or better. Hamilton was 11 for 11 last Thursday night against Green Bay. She followed that with a 6-for-8 outing against Milwaukee.
3. Players Of The Week: Chloe Hamilton was tabbed Horizon League Player of the Week on Jan. 24 for her efforts at Loyola and UIC. Hamilton fought off early foul trouble for 16 points in BU’s win at Loyola on Jan. 20, then went for a dominating career-high 27 points at UIC on Jan. 22. It was Hamilton’s first weekly honor, and the second for Butler this season. Brittany Bowen was selected as player of the week on Jan. 10 after averaging 19.0 points per game at Wright State and Detroit.
4. On The Boards: Butler out-rebounded its first eight league opponents before losing the boards battle to Milwaukee. The Bulldogs are +5.8 in rebounding margin in Horizon League games, good for second in the conference. Butler limited Green Bay to just five offensive rebounds to control the glass last Thursday night, but Milwaukee controlled the glass last Saturday. The Bulldogs have been +10 or better on the glass six times this season.
5. Back In Poll Position: Butler was ranked No. 22 in CollegeInsider.com’s first mid-major poll. After a few early losses, the Bulldogs fell from the rankings. The Bulldogs have jumped back into the rankings after winning eight of nine, coming in at No. 25. Green Bay is No. 1. Another BU opponent, Bowling Green, ranks at No. 6.
Butler-Detroit Series: Butler may trail Detroit in the all-time series 30-27, but recent years have been owned by the Bulldogs. BU has won 12 straight against Detroit, including the last five meetings at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
...Last Time vs. Detroit: Brittany Bowen had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead four double-digit scorers as BU beat Detroit 72-66. Chloe Hamilton had 11 points and 14 rebounds and Alyssa Pittman scored 18.
Titan-ic Rebounding Effort: In BU’s 72-66 win at Detroit a month ago, the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Titans 43-19. Detroit had just four offensive rebounds.
Sweet 16: Chloe Hamilton recently just finished a stretch of 16 consecutive made shots, a streak that covered three games. She converted her last attempt on Jan. 22 at UIC, then shot 11 for 11 against Green Bay. Hamilton made her first four shots against Milwaukee before missing. The single-game school record was a 13-for-13 outing by Alexis Proffitt against Milwaukee in 1997.
400: Butler’s win against Milwaukee was victory No. 400 for Beth Couture. The 9th-year Bulldog coach owns 142 victories at Butler, the most women’s basketball wins in Butler history. Only 48 other coaches in all of NCAA basketball have 400 career victories.
More On 11 For 11: Chloe Hamilton’s 11-for-11 shooting night was the third time in school history a Bulldog player took eight shots or more and made them all. In addition to Alexis Proffitt’s 13 for 13 (2/6/97), Kelly Kuhn went 8 for 8 against Wright State (2/20/99).
Senior Surge: During the holiday break, Beth Couture challenged her seniors to step up on and off the court. The group has responded with increased production. Chloe Hamilton is averaging a team-best 17.3 points and 8.7 boards over the last seven games. Brittany Bowen is scoring 14.3 points and Alyssa Pittman is averaging 13.7 points during that span. The three have combined to shoot .482 from the floor over the last seven games.
...Azjah’s Spark: Another senior, Azjah Bass, gave great minutes last weekend. She had three points and two rebounds in 16 minutes and had a big 3-point play with 10 minutes left in the game against Green Bay. Her energy on defense and her ball handling were keys to Butler’s near comeback. She also had four points against Milwaukee.
A 4th Straight 20: Butler needs six more wins to reach 20 victories for the fourth season in a row. That would be a first for BU as a Division I program, and second time in school history. The Bulldogs had four 20-win seasons in a row from 1978-82. This group 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.
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.
Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler is 7-2 at home this season after posting a 12-2 mark last season. The Bulldogs are 38-13 (.745) at Hinkle since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.
For Starters: After using eight different lineups in the season’s first 12 games, Butler may have found its starting 5. The current starters have won eight of its nine games together, and with former starters Terra Burns and Sarah Hamm injured, the rotation is now set. The Bulldogs can also still go wtih a smaller, faster lineup with Brittany Bowen at the ‘4’ and Chloe Hamilton at the ‘5’. Beth Couture has used nine different starting lineups through 21 games, including seven different lineups once.
Chloe’s Career Day: In Butler’s 66-61 win at UIC, Butler came out slow and actually trailed at halftime. Beth Couture could be heard on the sideline, encouraging her players to “get in the game.” Chloe Hamilton did just that, scoring 17 of her career-high 27 points in the second half to lead Butler to victory. The 5-10 senior shot 12 for 20 and made three free throws while grabbing six rebounds in 39 minutes.
Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen, who is averaging 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in Horizon League play, is seventh in the league averaging 15.4 points this season. In addition to scoring 30 against Indiana State on Dec. 4, the 5-10 senior has six outings with 19 points or more this season. She also has posted two 25-point performances prior to this season.
Bulldogs Nationally: In addition to Chloe Hamilton being sixth in the country in field goal percentage, Brittany Bowen can be found in the most recent NCAA stats. Bowen ranks 30th in the nation in free throw percentage, 105th in field goal percentage and 128th in scoring. As a team, the Bulldogs are 47th in assists, 54th in free throw shooting, 58th in field goal shooting and 58th in assist-to-turnover ratio.
All-Decade In High School: The Lansing State Journal recently published an all-decade team for the 2000s for the Lansing, Mich., area. Chloe Hamilton, Holt High School’s all-time leading scorer, was among the players mentioned. UWM’s Sami Tucker was also mentioned.
Getting Closer: While its true that Green Bay has beaten Butler 29 consecutive times dating back to 1999, last Thursday’s result was the tightest contest between the two teams. Three times (twice in 2009) Green Bay has beaten Butler by just five points. Thursday’s final was 66-62. Only Minnesota and Marquette have fared as well against the Phoenix.
Shooting To Remember: Butler’s 88-69 win over Youngstown State was an offensive performance for the ages. The Dawgs shot .615 from the floor (32-for-52), which was the team’s best effort since a .625 shooting night against Wright State in 1998. It was the best single-game shooting performance under head coach Beth Couture. Led by Alyssa Pittman’s six 3-pointers, BU sank 14 of 23 (.609) from beyond the arc. The 14 treys was tied for second and one shy of the school record set in 2007.
...Now Let’s Remember It: Since Butler lit up Hinkle Fieldhouse against YSU on Jan. 15, the Bulldogs have gone a bit cold from beyond the arc. Butler is shooting .203 (13 for 64) from 3-point range over the last four games. The team is also shooting .403 from the floor, which is less than the team’s season average.
New Year’s Resolution = Defense: After BU’s 12-game non-conference slate, the Bulldogs stood last in the HL in points allowed (69.6) and field goal percentage defense (.453). Since the first of the year Butler has tightened up on defense, ranking third in points allowed (62.0) and seventh in field goal percentage defense (.422). Butler has not yielded 70 points yet in conference play.
1,200 Point Scorers: In Butler’s win over IUPUI in November, Brittany Bowen became the 22nd player in a Butler uniform 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 1,247 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 also has 1,253 for her career.
Injury Bug: Butler’s 8-1 Horizon League start has been amazing when you consider how hard the Bulldogs were hit by injuries. BU is without two starters, senior point guard Terra Burns (8.5 ppg, 4.8 apg) and freshman center Sarah Hamm (7.0 ppg). Burns was injured at Notre Dame and hasn’t played since, while Hamm suffered an ACL tear in her right knee against Valparaiso and is out for the year.
Young Post Coming Through: Sarah Hamm had emerged as an effective interior player before injuring her knee against Valparaiso. The 6-2 rookie was scoring 7.0 points per game. In her absence, Becca Bornhorst has had her workload increase. Bornhorst, a 6-1 sophomore, has started the last nine games and is grabbing 5.4 rebounds while playing 23.2 minutes per game. She scored a season-high 13 on 6-for-7 shooting vs. Youngstown State on Jan. 15.
Conference Wins Record: With nine games to play, Butler is on pace to set a school record for conference wins in a season. BU has set a school record with 14 league victories in each of the past two seasons. The Bulldogs have posted back-to-back 14-4 conference seasons, tied for the 1993 Bulldog team that won 14 MCC games.
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.
...St. Vincent Women Of Hope: Beth Couture is serving as honorary chairwoman for 2011 St. Vincent Woman of Hope. Each Woman of Hope participant pledges to raise or give $1,000 annually for the cancer cause of her choice. All funds raised by Woman of Hope benefit cancer programs and services at St.Vincent. A celebration and walk is scheduled for October 1 to honor the participants.
WBCA Pink Zone: Butler will host its annual WBCA Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness Saturday, Feb. 5 against Wright State. The game will be sponsored by St. Vincent, and fans are encouraged to wear pink. Breast cancer survivors will be admitted free of charge. There will also be free pink ribbons and other breast cancer awareness programming.
Devin Does The Little Things: Devin Brierly scored a career-high 19 points in BU’s win over Milwaukee. Brierly averages 5.8 points per game, but usually her value is best measured outside of scoring. Brierly is an athletic, versatile wing who is counted on for perimeter defense and passing. She also takes care of the ball, sporting a 1.39 assist-to-turnover ratio. She is also shooting 34 for 39 (.872) at the free throw line, showing that she can be counted on to make key free throws at the ends of games.
Up Next: Following Thursday’s game vs. Detroit, BU will host Wright State Saturday, Feb. 5. The game is Butler’s Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness. It is also a big game for placement in the standings, as WSU is in third and trails BU by two games. A Butler win would put the Dawgs up three games with seven to play.