Bulldogs Host Ohio Dominican Saturday Evening
2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball
Bulldogs Host Ohio Dominican
The Butler women’s basketball team will welcome Ohio Dominican to Hinkle Fieldhouse Saturday, Nov. 21 for a 6 p.m. contest. BU is coming off its first win of the season, a 69-62 victory over Saint Louis.
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. 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 went 63-32 during the last three seasons.
2. Butler Returns 4 Starters: Four primary starters return from last year’s 23-10 team - seniors Terra Burns (6.6 ppg), Brittany Bowen (11.2) and Chloe Hamilton (7.4 ppg) and junior Devin Brierly (4.0 ppg). Sophomore guard Claire Freeman started 15 times last season and senior Alyssa Pittman started seven games.
3. Back-To-Back WNIT Berths: The Bulldogs have played in the postseason in each of the past two seasons, earning the Horizon League’s automatic berth into the WNIT twice. In 2009, BU won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. Last season, Butler won 23 games before falling 57-54 at Illinois State in the first round.
4. New Names In The Post: This season, Butler is served with the task of replacing two of the best post players the team has had in 2010 grads Melanie Thornton and Susan Lester. Thornton was Horizon League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year last season, averaging 15.7 points per game. Lester finished her career with 1,275 points and 781 rebounds. Senior forward Chloe Hamilton and several young players - Becca Bornhorst, Sarah Hamm, Dragana Grbic - will be counted on for production in the post.
5. Bowen Closing In On 1,000 Points: Brittany Bowen enters Wednesday’s game with 961 career points, needing 39 more to become the 21st player to score 1,000 points at Butler. Additionally, Alyssa Pittman crossed the 1,000-point mark late last season. She scored 715 points in her two seasons at Eastern Michigan.
Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler posted a 12-2 record at Hinkle Fieldhouse last season and picked up where it left off Wednesday with a home win against Saint Louis. Butler is 23-6 at home since 2008, including an 8-2 mark against non-conference teams.
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.
Three 09-10 Postseason Teams: After CSU’s run of upsets got them into the NCAA tourney, Green Bay appeared to have an automatic WNIT bid but was awarded an NCAA at-large bid. It was the first NCAA at-large bid in Horizon League history. That gave the league’s automatic WNIT spot to the Bulldogs, making it three teams from the Horizon League in postseason play.
Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen is averaging 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds after the season’s first two games. The 5-10 senior had a career-high 26 points against Saint Louis shooting 8-for-12 from the floor with two 3-pointers to go along with an 8-for-8 effort at the free throw line. Her previous scoring high was 25, a mark she reached in 2008 against Miami (Ohio) and last season at Cincinnati.
Nice Meeting You: Saturday’s contest will be the first meeting between Butler and Ohio Dominican. ODU is 0-1 all-time against Division I opponents, losing to Florida Gulf Coast in 2002. BU is 2-0 against D-II opponents since Beth Couture became head coach in 2002.
Welcome To NCAA: This is ODU’s first season as an NCAA member institution. The Panthers have always been a member of NAIA. ODU was 16-11 last season.
Couture Knows D-II: Beth Couture is no stranger to NCAA Division II, having made Presbyterian College a Division II power for 13 seasons. She took PC to the D-II tournament six times in a nine-year span. She also played D-II basketball at Erskine College from 1980-84.
36th Season Of Hoops: The 2010-11 season is Butler’s 36th as a varsity program. BU is 508-406 (.556) all-time, including a 129-114 mark under ninth-year head coach Beth Couture.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 129 victories at Butler, sits alone atop BU’s all-time women’s basketball wins list. Couture last season passed Linda Mason, who coached at BU from 1976-84 and won 124 games. The record-breaking victory came at UIC on March 4 of last season.
Bowen At The Free Throw Line: Brittany Bowen, a career .827 free throw shooter, is off to a great start at the line this season. Bowen is 14-for-14 from the stripe in the season’s two games. She made all six attempts at Bradley and knocked down 8-for-8 against Saint Louis.
...FT Shooting As A Team: In addition to Bowen’s prowess, the Bulldogs as a team have been solid at the line so far this season. BU is shooting 38-for-49 (.776) from the line, including a 21-for-25 effort at Bradley. The .776 free throw shooting mark is currently third in the Horizon League, behind Youngstown State (.810) and Milwaukee (.792).
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 ranked in the top 6 in the Horizon League in seven different categories. She 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.
Hamm Learning Quickly: Freshman center Sarah Hamm made her first career start and had her best game as a collegiate player against Saint Louis, scoring 11 points and blocking three shots in 14 minutes of action. She shot 5-for-9 from the floor while adding two rebounds, a steal and an assist.
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.
Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton has had a nice start to her seni led BU in scoring at Bradley, tallying 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting. She also added three assists. Hamilton burst into the starting lineup last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She averaged 8.7 points a game during league play.
Burns Doing It All: Terra Burns, Butler’s starting point guard, is leading the team in rebouding at 8.0 a game. She is also averaging 6.0 points and 5.5 assists per contest. The 5-9 senior had eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals Wednesday against Saint Louis. She also pulled in eight rebounds at Bradley last weekend.
Building Blocks: Butler blocked seven shots against SLU, matching last year’s season high in that category. BU blocked seven shots against Miami (Ohio) back on Dec. 5 of last season. Sarah Hamm had three rejections, and four other players each had one.
After Halftime, Try Again: After two games, it seems Beth Couture’s halftime speeches make the Bulldogs shoot better. Butler is shooting 26-for-55 (.473) from the field after halftime, compared to just 16-for-63 (.254) in the first 20 minutes. BU shot 14 percent in the first half at Bradley and 39 percent against SLU. The second half shooting was much better against both the Braves (.448) and Billikens (.500).
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 but is still receiving votes. Green Bay, after a 3-0 start with wins over two 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: Having just two players taller than 5-10 hasn’t stopped Butler from being aggressive on the offensive boards. BU is averaging 15.0 offensive rebounds a game, having pulled down 19 at Bradley and 11 against St. Louis. Brittany Bowen (7) and Chloe Hamilton (5) lead the team in offensive rebounds.
Here’s A Stat To Watch: Free throw attempts. Butler has been successful at getting to the line, shooting 49 free throws in its first two games. ODU would’ve won its opener, but it yielded 32 FT attempts to Seton Hill. If Butler can get to the line, it should not only give Butler an advantage, but could also put ODU’s best players on the bench in foul trouble.
X-Factor: Versatile lineups. Both Butler and Ohio Dominican can utilize different lineups, going tall or small depending on match-ups. Ohio Dominican didn’t start a player taller than 5-11 in its season opener, and neither did Butler. However, BU did give 6-2 freshman Sarah Hamm the start against Saint Louis. Whichever team can dictate the game with personnel will have an advantage.
Up Next: Butler will travel to Notre Dame for the WBCA Classic Nov. 26-28. BU will play Wake Forest and IUPUI before taking on host Notre Dame Sunday, Nov. 28.