December 6, 2010

Bulldogs Play At Evansville Tuesday

2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (4-3) at Evansville (4-3)
Tuesday, Dec. 7 - 12 p.m. ET
Roberts Stadium - Evansville, Ind.
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Bulldogs Play At Evansville Tuesday

The Butler women’s basketball team will take on in-state rival Evansville Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. CT at UE’s Roberts Stadium. Both teams enter 4-3, with BU coming off a win over Indiana State and Evansville a home loss to Central Michigan. 

The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines

1. Renewing Annual Rivalry: Butler and Evansville are meeting for the 37th time, with Butler leading the all-time series 21-15. The two schools have played each other every year since 2002.  

2. Bowen Leading The Horizon League: Brittany Bowen, who scored a career-high 30 points in Butler’s win over Indiana State, is leading the Horizon League with 18.0 points per game. Bowen got her 30 on 10-for-15 shooting and 7-for-9 at the free throw line. Milwaukee’s Lindsay Laur is second in the league with 17.0 points per game.

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 went 63-32 during the last three seasons. 

4. 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.

5. Looking For a Road Win: Butler, playing its third road game of the season, is looking for its first victory on an opponent’s home court. The Bulldogs have lost at Bradley and at Notre Dame while going 1-1 on neutral courts. BU was 10-5 in road games last season. 

 

Butler-Evansville Series: Tuesday’s contest will be the 37th meeting of the series, with Butler leading 21-15. Butler has won the last three games of the series by an average margin of 20.0 points. Butler defeated Evansville 77-41 in Hinkle Fieldhouse last season. Beth Couture is 5-3 against Evansville, and the Aces are the only non-conference opponent Butler has played every year since Couture game to BU in 2002.

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 1,049 points as a Bulldog. Additionally, Alyssa Pittman crossed the 1,000-point mark late last season. She scored 715 points in her two seasons at Eastern Michigan and now has 1,072 for her career.

Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen is averaging a league-leading 18.0 points this season. In addition to scoring 30 against ISU, the 5-10 senior has two outings with 26 points twice this season. Bowen went for 26 against Saint Louis and Wake Forest. 

Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 132 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.

During The Holiday: Butler is coming off its first three-game Thanksgiving event since 1997, having gone 1-2 at the WBCA Classic at Notre Dame. BU has played in two-game events every Thanksgiving since Beth Couture came to Butler in 2002. BU has claimed some important wins during the holiday, including winning the 2004 Saint Louis Thanksgiving Classic. Butler has defeated Chattanooga (2003), and also won at Miami (Fla.) (2007). 

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. 

Bowen At The Free Throw Line: Brittany Bowen, a career .829 free throw shooter, made her first 23 free throw attempts before missing in the first half against ISU. Bowen entered Saturday’s game 20-for-20 from the stripe and is now 27-for-29. She is second in the Horizon League in free throw percentage at .931.

...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. Butler currently stands fourth in the league in FT shooting at .758, including a 21-for-25 effort at Bradley. Milwaukee (.815) is the league leader.

Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton has had a nice start to her senior year, averaging 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The 5-10 senior has been a consistent scorer, tallying double figures in six of Butler’s seven games. She led the team in scoring at Bradley (13) and against Ohio Dominican (14) before scoring 49 points in Butler’s three games at Notre Dame. 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. She averaged 8.7 points a game during league play last 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. 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.

Hamm Learning Quickly: Freshman center Sarah Hamm has emerged as an effective interior player. The 6-2 rookie is averaging 5.7 points and 1.3 steals per game. She has started five games this season, scoring in double figures three times. She tied her career high with 11 points against Indiana State. She also scored 11 against Ohio Dominican, and had 10 points against Saint Louis.

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. 

Burns Doing It All: Terra Burns, Butler’s starting point guard, has been doing a little bit of everything this season. In addition to averaging 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, she is tied for second in the Horizon League with 4.8 assist per outing. The 5-8 senior had 14 points at Notre Dame back on Nov. 28.

Dawgs Eating Up Indiana: Butler has made a habit of winning in the state of Indiana. BU is 11-3 in its last 14 games against in-state opponents. The Bulldogs are 2-1 this season, with wins over IUPUI and Indiana State and a loss to Notre Dame. Dating back to the 2007-08 season, BU is 17-5 against Indiana schools.

After Halftime, Try Again: After seven games, it seems Beth Couture’s halftime speeches make the Bulldogs shoot better. Butler is shooting .447 from the field after halftime, compared to just .348 in the first 20 minutes. Also, BU is better at the free throw line in the second halves of games. Butler is converting foul shots at a .686 rate in the first half, compared to .781 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.

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 6-0 start with wins over three Big Ten teams, has moved to No. 1. CSU has climbed to No. 23 in the poll. Beth Couture and Detroit’s Autumn Rademacher represent the Horizon League on the mid-major poll.

All ‘O’ Board: Playing just three players taller than 5-10 hasn’t stopped Butler from being aggressive on the offensive boards. BU is averaging a league-best 15.3 offensive rebounds a game. BU leads the conference in offensive rebounding percentage, hauling in nearly 40 percent of its missed shots. Butler has grabbed at least 11 offensive rebounds in each game this season. BU had a season-high 19 offensive rebounds at Bradley, 16 vs. Ohio Dominican, Indiana State and at Notre Dame and 15 against Wake Forest. Chloe Hamilton (22), Brittany Bowen (20) and Sarah Hamm (12) lead the team in offensive rebounds.

Here’s A Stat To Watch: Offensive rebounding. Butler leads the Horizon League in offensive rebounds and Evansville owns a paltry -11.4 rebounding margin. The Bulldogs have pulled in at least 11 offensive rebounds in every game this season and will work hard on the boards to get extra shots. 

X-Factor: Tuesday’s contest will be an 11 a.m. CT start. The early tip time could affect the Dawgs, who have at times started games poorly before heating up later in the game. Butler will need to start fast and avoid falling behind early playing at Evansville.

Up Next: Butler will travel to Ball State Sunday, Dec. 12. The Bulldogs defeated BSU by 15 last season at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and have won the last two meetings.