2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Getting Defensive: Butler's win over Loyola was a masterful defensive effort. The Bulldogs, who led 40-19 at halftime, forced 27 turnovers and held LUC to 12 made baskets in a 72-46 win. The Ramblers couldn't handle the ball pressure applied by Butler guards Jenna Cobb, Devin Brierly and Mandy McDivitt. Cobb set a school record with 12 steals while Brierly and McDivitt each had three steals. Loyola shot just .279 for the contest and made just four baskets in the first half.
2. Keeping The 5th: Thursday's blowout win over Loyola was important for the Bulldogs to keep pace in the Horizon League standings. BU, at 7-6 in HL play, are now two games ahead of 6-8 Loyola in the loss column. Also, a Butler season sweep of Loyola helps the Dawgs in tie-breaking procedures. Saturday's game is a match-up of two teams aiming to secure the fourth-place spot in the league, which would earn a home game in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship on March 7.
3. Dawgs vs. Chicago Schools: Butler has won six of its last seven in Hinkle Fieldhouse against the league's two Chicago schools. The Bulldogs defeated UIC 78-57 last season and have won three of the last for against the Flames at Hinkle. With Thursday's win, Butler is 39-12 all-time against UIC and Loyola at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
4. Devin Heating Up: Devin Brierly has led Butler in each of the past three games, averaging 21.0 points per contest. She tied her career high with 22 points at Youngstown State on Feb. 4, and then scored 20 points last week against Valparaiso. Thursday night, Brierly posted 21 points (16 in the first half) against Loyola. Brierly is tied for the team scoring lead with Sarah Hamm at 11.3 points per game.
5. 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 24 games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 69.5% of the team's total minutes. The Dawgs start freshman Hannah Douglas along with sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm. Two other freshmen, Haley Howard and Amanda Raker, have also started at times this season. Only one senior and one junior play significant minutes.
Butler vs. UIC: Butler and UIC will be meeting for the 47th time Saturday evening. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 27-19, including a season sweep of the Flames last season. Beth Couture is 11-10 against UIC.
Previous Meeting: UIC shot .633 in the first half and quickly dispatched Butler 77-42 in Chicago back on Jan. 19. Shameia Green had 29 points and Jasmine Bailey had 22. Sarah Hamm scored 23 points for Butler, which shot just .241 on the night.
League Steals Record: Jenna Cobb's 12 steals vs. Loyola tied the Horizon League single-game record and broke a 25-year-old school record. Cobb broke the previous school record of 11 that was shared by three players. Melissa Kilgore was the last Bulldog to grab 11 steals, and that was in 1987. Cobb tied Julie Wojta of Green Bay, who had 12 steals earlier this season.
More Hamm Please: Sarah Hamm has emerged as Butler's offensive go-to player. The 6-2 sophomore is averaging 16.6 points and 7.8 rebounds over the last five games. Hamm totaled a career-high 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting against Milwaukee, a week after scoring 23 points at UIC on Jan. 19. She added a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double at Cleveland State on Feb. 2 and had 20 points on Thursday vs. Loyola. She has 12 games this season with at least 12 points.
Hamm Shooting The 3: Sarah Hamm, a 6-2 center, may also be Butler's best long-range shooter. Hamm is shooting 16-for-37 (.432) from 3-point range this season. Currently, she is a .462 shooter from beyond the arc in league games. She was 5-for-5 during the two games in Chicago, making both of her treys at UIC on Jan. 19.
Jenna At The '1': Jenna Cobb, a sophomore guard, is known for her tenacity and energy as a player. In January, Beth Couture moved her to the point position and the move has definitely worked. Cobb scored a career-high 21 points at Cleveland State on Feb. 2. The sophomore Ohio native is averaging 11.0 points and 3.4 assists over the last seven games.
Rare Double-Double: Jenna Cobb had 11 points and 12 steals on Thursday, pulling off a rare points-steals double-double. The last BU player to have a double-double that wasn't points-rebounds or points-assists was Kelly Kuhn in 2000. She actually had a triple-double that night, posting 20 points and 10 blocks to go with 18 rebounds.
Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler is 7-3 at home this year, continuing a trend of defending its home court. The Bulldogs are 30-9 at Hinkle over the past three seasons. That includes a 22-8 record at home against Horizon League opponents.
Sarah's Career Game: Sarah Hamm finished 11-for-19 shooting and made all six of her foul shots to finish with 30 points against UWM on Jan. 28. Hamm, who pulled in 11 defensive boards and blocked four shots in the game, had 18 points at halftime and also made two 3-pointers.
Rolling On 20s: Thursday's game was the first time in nearly a year that two players scored 20+ points in the same game. Devin Brierly scored 21 points and Sarah Hamm added 20 against the Ramblers. That was the first time two Dawgs have scored 20 since Alyssa Pittman and Chloe Hamilton each tallied 22 points against Cleveland State in the 2011 Horizon League tournament semifinal.
Board Work: Thursday's win was also Butler's best offensive rebounding performance this season. The Bulldogs pulled down 28 offensive rebounds, the most this season. The previous offensive rebound total was 21, also against LUC. BU was +17 on the offensive glass against the Ramblers, also a season best.
Wins vs. Losses: Offense has been the difference between winning and losing this season. In its 11 wins, Butler scores 67.0 points and shoots .423 from the floor. In its 13 losses, BU drops to 52.2 points on .337 shooting. Sarah Hamm, Devin Brierly and Jenna Cobb all average in double figures in games won. No Bulldogs average 10 points in the team's losses.
Offensive Behavior: For a team that has struggled scoring for most of the season, Butler has recently posted four good offensive outings. At YSU on Feb. 4, BU hit 12 3-pointers and shot 45 percent from the floor. Butler had season highs in points (76), field goal percentage (.510) and field goals made (26) against UWM on Jan. 28 and then followed that with 68 points on .431 shooting at CSU on Jan. 2. Thursday night vs. Loyola, Butler scored 72 points, its highest against a D-I opponent this season.
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 11.3 points per game. She has five 20-point games this season. Brierly has scored 22 points against Youngstown State and Ball State and 20 at IPFW and vs. Valpo. She leads the team in assists (64), 3-pointers made (38) and minutes played (31.8 per game).
Mandy Makes 3s: Mandy McDivitt, who is second on the team with 35 made 3-pointers, is Butler's long-range shooter off the bench. Twice this season, McDivitt has gone off for six made 3-pointers. She nailed 6 of her 13 attempts at Valparaiso on Jan. 14 and then made 6 of 10 at Youngstown State on Feb. 4. Of her 67 career field goals, 60 have been 3-pointers.
Block Party: Sarah Hamm currently leads the Horizon League with 1.8 blocks per game. The 6-2 Hamm blocked three shots vs. Loyola, her second straight game with three blocks. Hamm has 13 stuff over the past five games and 19 blocks over the last seven. She has eight games with 3+ blocks.
Doubling Up: After 19 games, no player on Butler had posted a double-double this year. Against Milwaukee on Jan. 28, both Sarah Hamm and Becca Bornhorst turned in a double-double. Hamm had 30 points and 11 rebounds and Bornhorst had 10 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first time since March 19, 2009 in the WNIT vs. Duquesne (Lade Akande and Brittany Bowen). Hamm then added another double-double at Cleveland State just five days later and Jenna Cobb had a double-double vs. Loyola.
Near Triple-Double: Becca Bornhorst posted her first career double-double against UWM on Jan. 28, and she nearly made it a triple-double. In addition to 10 points and 10 rebounds, Bornhorst dished eight assists on the day. She also hit two 3-pointers in the first half that set the tone for Butler's victory.
Couture's Cause: With February being a big month for breast cancer awareness and Beth Couture has spent her time in the battle against the disease. 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.
A Dozen Treys: Butler buried 12 shots from beyond the arc at Youngstown State on Feb. 4, a season high for the team. BU finished 12-for-27 against YSU, with Mandy McDivitt and Devin Brierly combining to shoot 9-for-18. It was the most 3-pointers for Butler since Feb. 17 of last season when the Dawgs made 12 treys against UIC at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Up Next: Butler will go to Wisconsin for its final road trip of the season. BU is at Milwaukee Thursday, Feb. 23 and then at Green Bay two days later.