Bulldogs Host Youngstown State Thursday Night
2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Need To Avoid 0-3: Butler needs a win Thursday night to avoid its first 0-3 Horizon League start since the 2004-05 season. Butler lost in overtime at Wright State and at home to Milwaukee and Green Bay that season. The Bulldogs finished 2004-05 with an 8-8 league mark. That was the only time BU has started 0-2 in league play under Beth Couture. The slow start hasn't buried Butler's chances yet, however. Picking up two wins at home before a trip to Valparaiso could get the Dawgs back into the league race.
2. Need More Dawgs: Butler dressed just 10 players on last weekend's trip. Freshman Jessika Lark stayed in Indianapolis, still suffering from concussion symptoms. All 10 players in uniform played at Detroit, with eight Bulldogs playing at least 14 minutes. Eight players saw the floor vs. Wright Sate, with each player playing at least 17 minutes.
3. 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 13 games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 70.5% of the team's total minutes. Freshmen Haley Howard and Hannah Douglas have been starting in addition to sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm. Only one senior, Devin Brierly, plays significant minutes.
4. Coaching Connection: Current Butler assistant Tisha Hill was Youngstown State's head coach from 2003-08. While at YSU, she compiled 45 wins. Prior to coaching the Penguins, Hill was an assistant for a total of 10 seasons at Ball State, Virginia Tech, Green Bay and Indiana.
5. Haley Should Be #2: Haley Howard, Butler's leading scorer, is one free throw shy of being ranked second in the nation in free throw percentage. Howard is 32-for-34 at the foul line, good for 94.1 percent. Her .941 mark is tops in the Horizon League. However, the NCAA statistics require 2.5 made free throws per game to be included in the national rankings. Howard, a forward from Whiteland, Ind., has made 2.46 foul shots per game. She made the first 23 free throws of her college career before missing against Marian on Dec. 17.
Butler vs. Youngstown State: The series between Butler and Youngstown State dates back to 2002, with BU leading the all-time series 17-5. The Bulldogs have won 11 straight games (10 by double figures) against the Penguins dating back to 2006. Beth Couture is 17-3 against YSU.
Last Year vs. YSU: The Bulldogs routed the Penguins twice last year. BU made 14 3-pointers in an 88-69 win at Hinkle last January. BU then went to YSU and won 73-56 behind 34 points from Chloe Hamilton.
Horizon At Home: Butler is 48-28 in regular season Horizon League games under Beth Couture.
That includes an 8-1 record against Youngstown State.
Freshman Impact: Three freshmen have started recent games for Butler. Haley Howard, a 5-11 forward, is Butler's leading scorer and foul shooter. Hannah Douglas, a 5-9 lefty guard, is a starter and isthe team's leading rebounder. Amanda Raker, a 6-1 post, made her first career start at Wright State.
Wrong Ending At Wright: Butler had a 22-16 lead at halftime and led in the final seconds last weekend at Wright State, but the ending went WSU's way. BU led 47-46 when a debatable traveling call gave the Raiders possession with 13 seconds left. A basket and foul by Kim Demmings gave Wright State the lead. A final shot by Butler at the buzzer fell short.
Blue vs. Brown: YSU star forward Brandi Brown is averaging 16.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in four career games against Butler. She scored 21 points in both games against BU last season. Brown has posted a double-double in each of her four games against the Bulldogs.
Double-Doubles: Butler has yet to post a double-double this season. Brandi Brown has five double-doubles this season.
Dawgs In 2011: Butler finished 18-17 in the 2011 calendar year, including a 14-10 mark against league opponents. Butler finished 22-12 in the 2010 year.
Devin's Increased Production: Devin Brierly, the only senior playing significant minutes this season, entered this season averaging 4.4 points per game for her career. She has been asked to score more this year, averaging 9.8 points per game. She scored 20 points at IPFW, 18 vs. Bradley and a career-high 22 against Ball State.
5 Treys For Devin: Devin Brierly led Butler with 15 points on a career-high five 3-pointers at Detroit last Thursday night. Four of her treys came in the first half.
New Lineup: Butler tried its fifth starting lineup this season when it mixed up its post players at Wright State. Amanda Raker and Becca Bornhorst started for the first time this season, helping BU to a 22-16 halftime lead at Wright 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).
More On Howard: Haley Howard is averaging a team-high 11.5 points per game on .464 shooting. The Whiteland, Ind., native has eight double-digit scoring performances and has tallied at least 11 points in five of the last seven contests. Her 32-of-34 free throw shooting (.964) leads the Horizon League. She has gone 4-for-4 at the foul line four times this season.
Keep The Lock Down On 'D': Excluding their game at Detroit last Thursday, Butler has held its last five opponents to 50 points or less. Butler held Indiana State, Ball State, Marian, IUPUI and Wright State to an average of 45.8 points per game while also forcing 20 turnovers per game. The Dawgs held four straight opponents to 50 points or less. Detroit's 72-point output was the most allowed by the Bulldogs this season.
Board Work: Butler is 3-1 when grabbing more rebounds than its opponent. BU's win over IUPUI on Dec. 21 was the first time this year BU won when being out-rebounded. Conversely, the Bulldogs had a 46-41 rebounding edge in their 48-47 loss at Wright State. Butler is 1-8 when grabbing fewer rebounds than its opponent.
New Year's Resolution: Butler is 4-7 since the millenium in its first game of every year after the calendar flips. The Bulldogs have won three straight year-opening games, beating Cleveland State in 2009, Loyola in 2010 and Valparaiso in 2011.
BU vs. Ohio Opponents: Butler is 22-14 against schools from Ohio since 2007. That includes an 8-0 mark against Youngstown State and a 6-5 records against Saturday's opponent, Cleveland State.
Up Next: After Thursday night's game vs. YSU, the Bulldogs will host Cleveland State Saturday, Jan. 7 at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 2 p.m.