2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Back In The Right Direction: As conference play slowly approaches, the Bulldogs are moving in the right direction. BU has now won two straight games since suffering a six-game losing streak earlier this season. Following a 49-46 loss at Indiana State, the Dawgs have beaten Ball State and Marian to get back on the winning track.
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 eight games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 70.3% 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. Heading Into Christmas: Butler has a chance to have its best holiday break in recent years. A win Wednesday would give BU its first win heading into the break since 2007. Beating IUPUI would also give the Bulldogs a three-game win streak heading into the break, which has only happened once under Beth Couture. In 2007, BU went home for the holiday on a seven-game win streak.
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. 2nd In The Nation: Haley Howard, Butler's leading scorer, is currently second in the nation in free throw percentage. Howard is 25-for-26 at the foul line, good for 96.2 percent. She is tied with Green Bay's Adrian Ritchie for the Horizon League lead. Howard, a forward from Whiteland, Ind., made the first 23 free throws of her college career before missing against Marian.
Butler vs. IUPUI: Butler leads the all-time series against IUPUI 14-7. The series dates back to 1976, Butler's first year as a varsity women's basketball program. Butler has won the last two meetings and four of the last five.
Short Van Ride: Hinkle Fieldhouse and IUPUI's gym are located 6.7 miles apart. Butler's distance from its last two opponents, Marian and IUPUI, cover 10.3 miles.
Last Year's Meeting: Butler defeated IUPUI 63-51 last November at Notre Dame. Chloe Hamilton, a 2011 BU grad, scored 19 points to lead all scorers. Alyssa Pittman added 12.
Devin's Increased Production: Devin Brierly, the only senior playing significant minutes at this point in the season, has been more aggressive on offense. The 5-9 senior guard entered this season averaging 4.4 points per game for her career, but is currently scoring 9.3 points per game this season. She scored 20 points at IPFW, 18 vs. Bradley and a career-high 22 against Ball State.
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).
Marian Notes: Butler's 74-39 win over Marian on Saturday was BU's first 30-point win since Feb. 11, 2010 when it routed Youngstown State 82-36. Also, Butler's output of 74 points and 47 rebounds were season highs. It marked the first time Butler has scored 70+ points this season.
Freshman Impact - Haley Howard: Haley Howard, a freshman from Whiteland Ind., is Butler's leading scorer with 12.5 points per game. Howard leads the team in field goal shooting (.488) and 3-pt shooting (.390). Howard scored 19 at Nevada, 18 vs. Marian, 17 at Indiana State and 15 vs. Ball State. She also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds vs. Marian.
McDivitt Back Strong: After missing two games with a concussion, Mandy McDivitt had one of her best games of the year against Marian. She scored 11 points and had a career-high three steals. It was her second double-digit scoring game of the year. She also had 11 points vs. UNLV.
Guard The Arc: In addition to three treys, Mandy McDivitt also had a rare 2-point field goal against MU. Of her 38 career field goals, 35 have been 3-pointers.
Locking Down On 'D': Butler has held its last three opponents to an average of 43.7 points per game last week while also forcing 21.7. The Dawgs have held Indiana State, Ball State and Marian to less than 50 points.
All-Tournament Dawgs: Butler 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.
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.
Butler In The NCAA Rankings: Butler appears prominently three times in the latest NCAA rankings. The Bulldogs are 42nd nationally in free throw percentage (.742), 75th in steals per game (10.8) and 98th in turnover margin (2.1). Butler is second in the HL in each of those three categories.
Pressure The Ball: Butler has had success on defense when it pressures the ball and forces turnovers. The Bulldogs have forced 20 turnovers six times this season. Butler forced 24 Marian turnovers last weekend, and they took the ball away 27 times against Ball State and 24 times against Bradley. The Dawgs are second in the Horizon League with 10.6 steals per game.
Coaching Connection: IUPUI associate coach Alex Webster was a Butler assistant last season. She is a Crown Point, Ind., native and a 2007 Green Bay graduate. She left for IUPUI last spring and was replaced by Ashley Hayes.
High For Hamm: Taking advantage of a smaller Marian team, 6-2 center Sarah Hamm scored a career-high 16 points last Saturday. Her day was highlighted by a 6-for-7 effort at the foul line. She also pulled in nine rebounds and added two steals.
Block Party: Sarah Hamm is secnd in the Horizon League and ranks 72ns in the nation with 1.8 blocks per game. She's had at least one rejection in eight of the team's 10 games. Hamm has blocked four shots in a game twice this season, with four each at IPFW and against Bradley. The sophomore center owns 18 blocked shots, while the rest of Butler's team has 20 blocks.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 151 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.
400: On Jan. 29 of last season, Beth Couture picked up her 400th career win. The 10th-year Bulldog coach now owns 409 career wins, including 151 at Butler. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories.
Indiana Is The Dawgs' House: The Bulldogs have posted a 22-7 record against schools from Indiana during the four seasons prior to this one. That mark includes a 6-0 record against Indiana foes in 2009-10 and a 5-2 record last year.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a freshman post player who averaged 7.5 points per game in the tourney 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 a holiday break, Butler will open league play at Detroit Thursday, Dec. 29. The Bulldogs then play at Wright State just before the clock strikes 2012.