Butler Hosts UIC Thursday Evening
2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball
Bulldogs Host UIC Thursday Night
The Butler women's basketball team, a half-game ahead of Wright State for second place in the Horizon League standings, hosts UIC Thursday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs are coming off a 1-1 road swing through Northeast Ohio. The Flames split last week against Green Bay and Milwaukee.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Pivotal Home Weekend: Butler is playing its final home league weekend of the regular season, and the Bulldogs need a pair of wins to keep pace for the No. 2 spot in the conference. BU enters Thursday night's action holding a half-game lead over Wright State, a team with which the Bulldogs split the season series. Butler has been the regular season runner-up and No. 2 seed in the league tourney the past two seasons.
2. 2 For 30: Chloe Hamilton and Brittany Bowen have combined to do something that has happened just once in Butler women's basketball history. The senior duo has posted three 30-point scoring performances this season, with Bowen pouring in 30 vs. Indiana State and 31 against Cleveland State. Hamilton had 34 points at Youngstown State. The only other time the Bulldogs have had three 30-point performances in the same season was 1990, when Julie VonDielingen had two and Nikki Anderson had one.
3. Chloe 7th In The Nation: Chloe Hamilton enters this weekend's play ranked seventh in the country in field goal shooting at .593. The 5-10 senior is one of only nine Division I players shooting 58.5 percent or better. Hamilton posted 17-for-19 shooting against Green Bay and Milwaukee and recently had a stretch with 16 consecutive made field goals. She leads the Horizon League with a .618 field goal percentage in Horizon League games.
4. Players Of The Week: Brittany Bowen and Chloe Hamilton have each been tabbed Horizon League Player of the Week this season. Hamilton garnered the honor 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 27 points at UIC on Jan. 22. Brittany Bowen was selected as player of the week on Jan. 10 after averaging 19.0 points per game in road wins at Wright State and Detroit.
5. Senior Moment: Butler's group of five seniors (Alyssa Pittman was a transfer) has been one of the most successful classes in school history. Azjah Bass, Brittany Bowen, Terra Burns, Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman enter the weekend with 78 wins, tied for fifth in school history.
Butler-UIC Series: Butler is 26-18 all-time against the Flames, including a 14-8 mark vs. UIC in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs own a 66-61 win at UIC earlier this season. Beth Couture is 10-9 against the Flames.
...Last Time vs. UIC: Chloe Hamilton scored 27 points and Brittany Bowen added 18 as the Bulldogs shook a slow start to win at UIC, 66-61, back on Jan. 22. Down 29-26 at the half, BU took the lead for good at the 9:05 mark and led by as many as 10. Shameia Green had 18 for UIC.
About Last Weekend: Last week's trip to Ohio featured two outstanding scoring performances for Butler. Chloe Hamilton scored 34 at Youngstown State last Thursday and Brittany Bowen had 31 and 11 boards at Cleveland State. BU split the two games, dominating YSU before falling in the final minute at CSU.
Butler vs. Chicago: The Bulldogs are 10-2 against the league's two Chicago schools since 2007. BU is 6-1 against UIC during that span, with a 3-1 mark at home.
More On 34: Chloe Hamilton's 34-point outburst at Youngstown State was one for the ages. Not only was it three short of the school single-game record, but it was the highest output in a league game this season. UWM's Courtney Lindfors scored 35 in a non-conference game in November. It was also the highest scoring effort by a Butler player since 2001, when Sarah Bolten tied the school record with 37 points.
Azjah Makes Her Point: After providing a much-needed spark off the bench Azjah Bass has climbed into the starting lineup and played well. The senior point guard had seven points, six assists and five rebounds at Cleveland State and also dished five assists at Youngstown State. The 5-7 senior has a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last four games. Bass has started seven games this season.
Sweet 16: Chloe Hamilton recently 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.
400: Butler's win against Milwaukee on Jan. 29 was victory No. 400 for Beth Couture. The 9th-year Bulldog coach owns 143 victories at Butler, the most women's basketball wins in Butler history. Only 48 other active coaches have 400 career victories.
Moving The Ball: Butler registered 20 assists on 24 field goals at YSU last Thursday, the fourth game this season with 20+ Bulldog assists. It was the highest assist rate of the season (83.3). The Dawgs assisted on 82 percent of their field goals vs. Wake Forest in November (23 assists on 28 field goals).
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).
99% Comeback: Butler made three near-comebacks in its last four games, only to come up a bit short each time. BU trailed 57-49 last Saturday at CSU before taking a lead with 1:06 to play. Cleveland State answered late to win the game. On Feb. 3, BU trailed 46-35 vs. Detroit before attacking the Titans full court and cutting the deficit to 53-51. Detroit won 55-51. On Feb. 5 vs. Wright State, the Raiders made 12 3-pointers to build a 55-40 lead before the Bulldogs came back to tie the game in the final minute. WSU's Ta-Myra Davis scored with 1.2 seconds left to give the Raiders the win.
Match-up To Watch: A key match-up to keep an eye on Thursday will be the production each team gets from two of the Horizon League's most dynamic on each side. Butler hurt UIC last month with Chloe Hamilton (27 points) and Brittany Bowen (18 points). UIC has Shameia Green (18 points last month) and Jasmine Bailey (19 points last January at Hinkle), two double-digit scorers who have had big games against Butler in their careers.
Get Back On The Boards: Butler, owning a 9-4 record in Horizon League play, is also 9-4 in rebounding against league opponents. BU out-rebounded its first eight league opponents before losing the boards battle in three straight games against Milwaukee, Detroit and Wright State. The Bulldogs got back on the glass last week at YSU, out-rebounding the Penguins 38-22 and yielding just four offensive boards. CSU then edged Butler 38-37 on the glass last Saturday, although Butler did pull down a commanding 16 offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs have been +10 or better on the glass seven times this season.
A 4th Straight 20: Butler needs five 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.
Inching Closer To Postseason: The best team in the Horizon League standings that doesn't earn the league's bid to the NCAA Tournament advances to the WNIT. Butler has earned that distinction two years in a row, and it is on pace for a third consecutive invitation. The Bulldogs remain a half-game ahead of Wright State in the loss column for second in the HL standings.
Chloe Got Into The Game: In Butler's 66-61 win at UIC on Jan. 29, 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 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in Horizon League play, is seventh overall in the league averaging 15.6 points this season. In addition to having a pair of 30-point games this season, the 5-10 senior has seven outings with 19 points or more this season. She also posted two 25-point performances prior to this season. She is also statistically one of the most efficient scorers in the league. Bowen ranks fourth in the Horizon League in free throw percentage (.864) and seventh in 3-point percentage (.362).
Bowen vs. The Flames: In seven career games vs. UIC, Brittany Bowen is averaging 14.1 points while shooting .521 from the floor. She has shot. .429 from 3-point range against UIC, including a 9-for-15 mark during her first two seasons.
Bulldogs Nationally: In addition to Chloe Hamilton ranking seventh in the country in field goal percentage, Brittany Bowen can be found in the most recent NCAA stats. Bowen ranks 26th in the nation in free throw percentage (.864) and 101st in field goal percentage (.462). As a team, the Bulldogs are 53rd in assists, 36th in free throw shooting, 76th in field goal shooting and 59th in assist-to-turnover ratio and 85th in scoring.
1,300 Point Scorers: If Alyssa Pittman can manage 17 more points this year, Butler will be the only team in the Horizon League with two active 1,300-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. Bowen now has 1,314 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 1,283 for her career.
Conference Wins Record: With six games to play, Butler can still tie the 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: When not patrolling the Butler sideline, Beth Couture has spent her time in the battle against breast cancer. Couture, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2009, rushed through treatments to make it on the sidelines for the start of last season. Couture has been cancer-free for more than a year and has participated in several awareness events. 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, a breast cancer awareness group. 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.
Career Record Watch: As they approach the final weeks of their collegiate careers, Brittany Bowen, Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman continue to climb Butler's career record books. Bowen moved into 10th on BU's all-time scoring list and is just two points shy of ninth in school history. Her current marks in 3-point percentage (.387, 9th) and free throw shooting (.828, 3rd) would land her in the school's top 10. Additionally, Hamilton is currently fourth all-time in field goal percentage (.549) while Pittman is on the chart for 3-pointers made (106, 9th) and attempted (344, 7th).
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.
Injury Bug: Butler standing second in the Horizon League this season has been amazing when you consider how hard the Bulldogs were hit by injuries. BU is without two players who started the first half of the year in 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.
Devin Scoring More: Devin Brierly, a career 4.2 scorer, is averaging 11.0 points over the last five games. She scored a career-high 19 points in BU's win over Milwaukee on Jan. 29 and had 16 against Cleveland State last week. However, it's not the scoring column where her value is best measured. Brierly is an athletic, versatile wing who is counted on for perimeter defense and passing. She also takes care of the ball, sporting a 1.24 assist-to-turnover ratio. She is also shooting .842 at the free throw line, good for second on the team.
Up Next: Butler will host Loyola Saturday, Feb. 19 in the regular season home finale. The game will serve as Senior Day for BU's five seniors: Azjah Bass, Brittany Bowen, Terra Burns, Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman.