DAYTON, Ohio - Two debatable calls and a runner by Wright State's Kim Demmings with 4.7 seconds left sealed the Bulldogs' fate in a 48-47 Butler women's basketball loss at the Nutter Center. Sophomore Sarah Hamm led Butler with 15 points before fouling out.
Freshman Hannah Douglas added 10 points and five rebounds for Butler, which led by two and had the ball with 21 seconds left in the game. WSU's Shaunda Sandifer had game highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The game was the epitome of a defensive battle, with the two teams shooting a combined .304 and forcing 39 turnovers. BU finished with .333 shooting and 23 turnovers. The Bulldogs did an excellent on Wright State's all-league post player Molly Fox, who fouled out with six points. Fox came into the game averaging 13.9 points.
"I'm proud of our girls and our defensive effort was really good," head coach Beth Couture said. "But we just need to find a way to score. Our turnovers really hurt us."
Butler led 47-46 and had the ball with 13.3 seconds left when senior Devin Brierly was called for traveling. She appeared to slip a bit on the floor after being fouled. It was clearly a situation where the Raiders needed an immediate steal or needed to foul a Butler player. After the turnover, Demmings somehow made an out-of-control runner with 4.7 seconds left. It was a debatable play, but the basket counted with a foul. She missed the foul shot, and it was Butler's ball with the Dawgs down 48-47.
Brierly drove the length of the floor and shot a contested 3-pointer as time expired. Wright State (9-5, 2-0) escaped with the win.
In addition to the ending, there were a few strange scenarios in the second half. The best sequence was when the Raiders committed a loose-ball foul. Sophomore Mandy McDivitt was fouled while boxing out and calmly went to the other end and made two free throws. The officials then decided to review a replay to determine if McDivitt was indeed the shooter. The confusion, conincidentally or not, led to a 8-0 Wright State run that led to the Raiders taking a 39-32 lead.
Moments later a trey by Douglas pulled BU to within 39-37 with 4:00 remaining. The Dawgs slowly got back into the game, and a runner in the lane by freshman Haley Howard gave BU a 42-41 lead.
Both teams got off to a slow start, as the score was tied 5-5 after more than 9 minutes of play. Butler kept forcing Wright State into bad shots and turnovers and extended the lead to 18-10 at the 2:50 mark. A trey by Hamm made it 21-14 before the Dawgs took a 22-16 lead into halftime. WSU shot 20.6 percent and committed 11 turnovers in the first half.
Butler will be at home next weekend vs. Youngstown State and Cleveland State. The Penguins come to Hinkle Thursday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m.