2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler Travels To Bowling Green
The Butler women's basketball team will be aiming to snap a four-game losing streak when it plays at Bowling Green Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. ET. The Falcons are one of the top mid-major teams in the country, winning 74 percent of their games under head coach Curt Miller.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Slow Start: BU, which has posted a winning record in each of the last six seasons, has started 1-5 for the fourth time in school history. Butler's last 1-5 start came during the 1988-89 season. That team finished 9-17. Butler went 20-9 the next year. Butler's other 1-5 starts came in 1975-76 and 1984-85.
2. Young Bulldogs: Butler has had young teams in the past, but no team has had young players on the floor for more minutes than this year's BU squad. Through the first five games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 68.3% of the team's total minutes. Freshmen Haley Howard and Hannah Douglas have been starting in addition to sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm.
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. 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.
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 5.7 but it now averaging a team-high 11.2 points per game this year. Brierly, a 4.7 career scorer, started slow but had a career-high 20 points on Nov. 20 at IPFW and tallied 18 points Wednesday vs. Bradley.
10th Season of Beth Couture: This season marks Beth Couture's 10th on the Butler sideline, making her the first coach in Butler women's basketball history to reach 10 seasons as head coach. Linda Mason coached the team for eight seasons (1976-84).
Butler vs. Bowling Green: Butler leads the all-time series against Bradley 3-2. The series dates back to 1998, when the two teams split a pair of meetings. Beth Couture is 1-1 against the Falcons.
Couture & Miller Brought Wins: Before Beth Couture and Curt Miller, Butler and Bowling Green were struggling mid-majors. In 2001-02, the two teams combined for 12 wins. Two years later, in 2004, the two teams combined for 35 wins (21 for Bowling Green) and both teams have been contenders ever since.
Last Meeting vs. Bowling Green: Lauren Prochaska scored 28 points, the Falcons built a 36-26 lead at halftime and held on to beat BU 73-64. Four Bulldogs were in double figures, led by Chloe Hamilton with 17. Shooting was even, but the difference was BG's nine 3-point field goals to Butler's two.
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.
All-Tournament Dawgs: Butler has had one player honored in each of its two early-season tournaments. Terra Burns was named all-tournament at Iowa's Hawkeye Challenge and Haley Howard was all-tourney at Nevada's Nugget Classic.
BU vs. The MAC: Butler is 4-1 against teams from the Mid-American Conference over the past three seasons. That includes a 2-0 mark against Miami and Ball State. The loss was last year's setback to Bowling Green.
Howard Lucky In Nevada: Haley Howard was Butler's top player last week in Nevada, averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 rebounds en route to Nugget Classic All-Tournament Team honors. She shot 11-for-19 from the floor (.579) and 5-for-11 from 3-point range (.455). Howard scored a career-high 19 points against Nevada, including 15 in the first half.
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 is the honorary chairwoman for St. Vincent Women 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.
Devin's Increased Production: Devin Brierly has taken on more of a leadership role this season, and her on-court production has increased. In addition to her scoring increasing 3.5 points per game, the 5-9 senior has been playing some point guard as well as making defensive plays and getting to the foul line. She was a career-best 10-for-11 at the foul line against Bradley and added four steals. She also had six assists, which tied her career high.
Guard Her Outside The 3: Mandy McDivitt, who scored 10 points against Bowling Green last season, is known as Butler's outside shooter. Of her 33 career field goals made, 31 have come from beyond the arc. Last year as a freshman, all 25 of her made shots were from 3-point range. The same has been true this season, save for two lay-ups.
Hamm Time: After tearing her ACL in January last season, Butler has made Sarah Hamm an offensive priority in the post. Hamm is averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and she's leading Butler with 53 field goal attempts. On Wednesday against Bradley, the 6-2 sophomore had career highs in minutes (35) and field goal attempts (14) while tying her career high in blocks (4).
Block Party: Sarah Hamm is leading the Horizon League with 2.0 blocks per game. She's had at least one rejection in five of the team's six games. Hamm blocked four shots at IPFW and against Bradley. She's the only player in the conference averaging 2.0 rejections per game.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 149 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.
Pressure The Ball: Butler has had success on defense when it pressures the ball and forces turnovers. The Bulldogs have forced 20 turnovers four times this season, including Wednesday vs. Bradley when they took the ball away 24 times. Jenna Cobb and Devin Brierly are the team's leaders in steals with 14 and 11, respectively.
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 149 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 Saturday's game with 273 career assists, ranking 10th on the school's all-time chart. She needs two assists to catch Jami Sloan (1990-94) for ninth in Butler history.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a freshman post player who averaged 7.5 points per game at Nevada, 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 Saturday's game at Bowling Green, the Bulldogs will travel to in-state rival Indiana State for a game Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Terre Haute. BU's next home game is Friday, Dec. 9 vs. Ball State.