INDIANAPOLIS - Senior Devin Brierly scored 21 points, sophomore Sarah Hamm scored 20 and sophomore Jenna Cobb set a Horizon League steals record in the Butler women's basketball team's 72-46 win over Loyola Thursday night. The Bulldogs led by as many as 37 on the night.
Cobb's defensive prowess was the night's main story. The sophomore guard finished with 12 steals, tying the Horizon League record set early this season by Green Bay's Julie Wojta. The 12 steals is a single-game Butler record, as three different players in the 1980s previously owned that mark with 11 thefts. No Butler player had at least 11 steals since Melissa Kilgore in 1987.
Cobb, who became one of three players in the nation to record 12 steals in a game this season, had seven steals of her steals in the first half. She also finished with 11 points for the rare points-steals double-double.
"It was our whole team pressuring the ball that allowed me to get those steals," Cobb said. "We were getting on the ball. I just thought about pressuring the ball."
"Looking at Jenna's line, she had six offensive rebounds and 12 steals. Those are all hustle plays," Butler head coach Beth Couture said. "That's what Jenna does. She plays hard all the time."
Brierly finished with 7-for-16 shooting and made four 3-pointers. She also had six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Couture said Brierly "sets the tone for us. If she plays like that, everybody follows."
Brierly and the Bulldogs threw the knockout punch early. A Cobb steal led to a Brierly lay-up to put the Dawgs ahead 13-4 and the game was never close after that. The Bulldogs by as many as 23 points in the first half and led 40-19 at the half.
With Butler taking the ball away and Loyola missing shots when they didn't commit a turnover, the Bulldogs extended their big lead. A 10-1 run after halftime made it 50-20 and five quick points by Hamm moments later made it 57-22. Butler's largest lead came at the 9:56 mark when the Dawgs led 63-26.
Hamm's 20 points came efficiently, on 9-for-15 shooting in 21 minutes of action. She also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.
All of Butler's players played as Couture subbed everyone in the game with 6:30 left in the game. Manager-turned player Molly Craig played five minutes in her first collegiate action.
Loyola, which finished with 27 turnovers and 12 made field goals, was led by Patrice King with 11 points. The Ramblers were 0-for-11 from 3-point range, and only 22 made free throws allowed them to get past 40 points. The Bulldogs also pulled down 28 offensive rebounds, leading to 22 second-chance points.
Butler (11-13, 7-6) will play another important league game Saturday, Feb. 18 when it hosts UIC at 6 p.m.