Bulldogs Head To Nevada For Nugget Classic

2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (1-2) at Nevada (1-2)
Friday, Nov. 25 - 5 p.m. ET (2 Pacific)
Lawlor Events Center - Reno, Nev.
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Thanksgiving In Reno For Butler

The Butler women's basketball team will be taking its annual Thanksgiving trip this week, playing two games at Nevada's Nugget Classic in Reno. BU will open against the host Wolfpack Friday, Nov. 25. The next day, Butler will play either Penn State or Iowa State.

The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines

1. Turkey Tourney Time: Butler's annual Thanksgiving trip will once again feature quality competition combined with a holiday destination. In past years, the Bulldogs have gone to Mexico, Alaska, New Mexico and California and Florida twice each. Last year, Butler went to Notre Dame for three games over the holiday weekend, highlighted by games vs. Wake Forest and Notre Dame.  

2. 4 Straight 20s: Butler has won 20 games in each of the past four seasons, the first time the team has achieved that as a Division I program. The Bulldogs went 20-14 last year and finished second in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs were 23-10 in 2009-10, the team's most wins since 1998. BU was 20-10 in 2007-08 and followed that with a 20-12 season in 2008-09. Butler is 83-45 during the last four seasons.

3. Trio of WNIT Berths: The Bulldogs have played in the postseason in each of the past three seasons, earning the Horizon League's automatic berth into the WNIT each time. In 2009, BU won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. In 2010, Butler won 23 games before falling 57-54 at Illinois State in the first round. Last year, Butler won 20 games before losing at Wisconsin in the WNIT first round.  

4. Burns Named All-Tournament At Iowa: Terra Burns, Butler's leading scorer and rebounder at the point guard position, was selected to the Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team. The senior point guard averaged 12.5 points and 6.0 rebounds over the tourney's two games. She had a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds in BU's win over Harvard. Her nine boards tied her career high.

5. More Scoring For Brierly & Burns: Seniors Terra Burns and Devin Brierly, experienced players known for their defense and passing, have been asked to pick up their scoring this season. Burns has a career scoring average of 5.6 but it now averaging 12 points per game this year. Brierly, a 4.3 career scorer, started slow but had a career-high 20 points last week at IPFW.

37th Season Of Hoops: The 2011-12 season is Butler's 37th as a varsity program. BU is 528-421 (.554) all-time, including a 149-129 mark under 10th-year head coach Beth Couture. In 36 seasons, Butler has posted a .500 record or better 23 times.

Butler vs. The Tourney Field: Friday will be the first women's basketball meeting between Nevada and Butler. The Bulldogs have never played Penn State and are 0-1 all-time against Iowa State. That game was an 80-61 Cyclones win back in 1995.

Butler-Nevada On Another Court: Coincidentally, the two schools played in volleyball this fall. Butler won that match 3-0 at the University of Portland's Portland Classic. 

Bulldogs Finish Second: Butler placed second in both the Horizon League regular season and the league tournament last year, accomplishing that feat for the second straight year. BU was 12-6 in league play and defeated Detroit and Cleveland State en route to the league tourney final, won by Green Bay.

Butler In The Horizon League: Butler has consistently been the Horizon League's second-best program. The Dawgs are 40-14 in league play over the past three seasons, finishing second in the regular season standings all three times. Green Bay has been the perennial first-place team in the league and advanced to the Sweet 16 last year. 

Devin Scored More: Devin Brierly had a career-high 20 points last Sunday at IPFW. She shot 7-for-8 from the floor and made four of her five 3-pointers on the day. Fifteen of her points came in the second half, when Butler tried to rally from a double-digit deficit. 

BU vs. MWC: Nevada will be Butler's second Mountain West Conference opponent this month. BU opened the season with a 62-39 loss to UNLV in Iowa. BU is 0-3 all-time against the MWC's current schools.

Thanksgiving Titles: Butler has won two Thanksgiving-weekend titles under Beth Couture. The Bulldogs won SLU's Billiken Classic in 2004, defeating Austin Peay and Alabama A&M. Butler won Miami's tournament in 2007, beating Monmouth and Miami.

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 the 2009-10 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. She is also the 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.

Dawgs Making A Difference: Before playing at IPFW, head coach Beth Couture and the Bulldogs visited Luthern Children's Hospital in Fort Wayne. They visited with pediatric inpatients, ages 2-12. Terra Burns played a sick child in air hockey and other players played shooting games on a children's basketball hoop.

Strange Game: Last Sunday's 68-60 loss at IPFW was a strange contest. Butler took 10 more shots and got to the foul line more often, yet lost. The key to the game was IPFW's long-range shooting. IPFW's Anne Boese shot 8-for-9 from 3-point range en route to 25 points. It was the most a player has hit against BU since Feb. 18, 2010. As a team, the Mastodons made 12 3s.

Bulldogs Nationally In 2011: Graduated seniors Chloe Hamilton and Brittany Bowen were among the national leaders last season. Hamilton finished fifth in the country in field goal percentage, Brittany Bowen can be found in the most recent NCAA stats. Bowen ranks 21st in the nation in free throw percentage (.867) and 84th in field goal percentage (.470). As a team, the Bulldogs are 37th in free throw shooting, 50th in assists, 56th in assist-to-turnover ratio, 66th in field goal shooting and 88th in scoring offense. 

Howard Making An Impact: Haley Howard started the first three games of the season and has been an impact player in her first month as a college basketball player. Through three games, the 5-11 Howard averaged 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting .500 from the floor. Her best game was a 15-point effort in Butler's win over Harvard.

Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 147 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.

Pro Dawgs: Two recent Butler players signed pro contracts overseas during the summer. Brittany Bowen, an All-Horizon League player last year who graduated May, signed with a club in Denmark. Just days later, 2010 graduate Susan Lester signed to play professionally in Turkey. 

Follow Us: Butler fans can follow along with the Dawgs on Twitter by following @ButlerWBB. Also, BU supporters can 'Like' the Bulldogs on Facebook at Facebook.com/ButlerWBB.

400: On Jan. 29 of last season, Beth Couture picked up her 400th career win. The 10th-year Bulldog coach now owns 407 career wins, including 148 at Butler. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories. 

Burns' Helping Hand: Fifth-year point guard Terra Burns continues to climb Butler's all-time assists chart. Burns enters this weekend with 265 career assists, ranking 10th on the school's all-time chart. 

Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a freshman from Indianapolis, has the pedigree for success at Butler. Her father, Gary, played two seasons of basketball at BU from 1978-80 after playing two years at Oklahoma. Gary Raker, a 1975 Indiana All-Star, averaged 11.8 points per game over 52 games at Butler. 

Up Next: After this weekend's play at Nevada, the Bulldogs will host Bradley Wednesday, Nov. 30 at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. ET. Butler then goes back on the road to Bowling Green Saturday, Dec. 3.