2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Player of the Week: Sarah Hamm was named Horizon League Player of the Week after leading BU to wins over Loyola and UIC last weekend. The 6-2 sophomore averaged 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in the two victories. She had 20 points in a rout over Loyola and 18 in last Saturday's win vs. UIC. She is the second Bulldog to win that award this season, as Jenna Cobb was honored back on Feb. 6.
2. Standings Update: With its loss on Thursday, Butler dropped to a game back behind UIC for fourth place in the Horizon League standings. The Flames are 9-6 and the Dawgs are 8-7. Those two teams are likely to meet in the Horizon League quarterfinal Wednesday, March 7. Whichever team captures the No. 4 seed will host that game, and the winner will advance to the semifinals at the highest remaining seed.
3. Getting Defensive: Butler picked up its two wins last week by locking down defensively. Even in Thursday's loss, the Dawgs played well defensively. Led by Jenna Cobb, the Bulldogs made 23 steals and held Loyola to 28 percent shooting in a 72-46 win last Thursday. Cobb set a school record and tied a league record with 12 steals. Last Saturday, Butler continued to apply pressure and forced UIC into 29 percent shooting in a 51-48 BU win. The Flames committed 25 turnovers in that game, with Butler tallying 12 steals. BU limited UWM to .367 shooting and 54 points in the closs loss at Milwaukee.
4. Ball Control: If there's one thing BU has been consistent about, it's been taking care of the basketball. Butler is one of just three teams with a positive turnover margin in Horizon League games. The Bulldogs are +0.4 in that category, ranking third in the conference. The Bulldogs's average of 16.6 turnovers per game ranks fourth in the HL.
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 26 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. GB: Butler and Green Bay will be meeting for the 46th time this Saturday. The Phoenix leads the series 38-7. Butler's last win against Green Bay came in 1999 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Green Bay has won 32 straight against BU.
Previous Meeting: Although Butler lost to Green Bay 60-36 a month ago, the Bulldogs did have some positive moments. BU out-scored Green Bay 23-18 in the second half and held the Phoenix to .280 second-half shooting. The 60 points is Green Bay's second-lowest scoring performance of the year.
League Steals Record: Jenna Cobb's 12 steals vs. Loyola last Thursday 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 is Butler's offensive go-to player. The 6-2 sophomore is Butler's leading scorer and rebounder. She is averaging 15.3 points and 7.9 rebounds over the last seven games. Hamm, who averages 13.7 points per game in league play, has 13 games this season with at least 12 points.
Sarah's Big Games: Sarah Hamm has five games this season with at least 18 points. She totaled a career-high 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting against Milwaukee on Jan. 28, a week after scoring 23 points at UIC on Jan. 19. She scored 20 points vs. Loyola and 18 vs. UIC to get player of the week honors last week. She also had a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double at Cleveland State on Feb. 2.
Women Of Steal: Led by Jenna Cobb, Butler totaled 35 steals last weekend against the two Chicago schools. After grabbing 23 steals vs. Loyola, BU had 12 vs. UIC. Cobb finished the weekend with 15 steals and Mandy McDivitt had six.
Block Party: Although she has slightly dropped to second in blocks per game, Sarah Hamm has blocked 46 shots, tops in the Horizon League. Hamm has 15 stuffs over the past six games and 21 blocks over the last eight. She has eight games with 3+ blocks. In league play, Hamm has a league-best 1.9 blocks per game.
'Devin-itely' Better: 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 lead and score this year, averaging 11.2 points per game. She has five 20-point games, including a recent stretch of three in a row. A career .330 shooter from 3-point range, Brierly is shooting .353 this season.
Devin's Big Games: Devin Brierly leads Butler with five 20-point games. She scored a career-high 22 points against Ball State and at Youngstown State this season. She had 21 vs. Loyola last week and 20 at IPFW early in the season.
Road Improvement: BU has won three of its last four road games after beginning the season 0-8 on the road. Butler won 60-57 at Loyola on Jan. 21 and then beat Cleveland State (68-62) and Youngstown State (65-63) the first weekend of February.
Dawgs At Kress: Butler has never beaten Green Bay in four tries at the Kress Center. However, BU has gotten some memorable tournament victories there. In 2010, Butler blew out Detroit 69-55 in the league semifinal and last year BU beat Cleveland State 68-54 to advance to the league championship.
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 10.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game over the last six contests.
Hamm Shooting The 3: Sarah Hamm, a 6-2 center, can do more than score inside. Hamm has an effective mid-range shot and is shooting .372 from 3-point range this season. Currently, she is a .375 shooter from beyond the arc in league games. She had made a 3-pointer in 12 games this season.
Rare Double-Double: Jenna Cobb had 11 points and a school-record 12 steals vs. Loyola, 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. Kuhn actually had a triple-double that night, posting 20 points and 10 blocks to go with 18 rebounds.
Becca Doubling Up: Becca Bornhorst has posted two double-doubles in recent weeks, the first two of her career. She had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first game against Milwaukee and had 10 points and 12 rebounds vs. UIC. Beth Couture called Bornhorst's outing against the Flames her "toughest in a Butler uniform."
Rolling On 20s: Last week's game vs. Loyola 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.
Wins vs. Losses: Offense has been the difference between winning and losing this season. In its 12 wins, Butler scores 65.7 points and shoots .418 from the floor. In its 14 losses, BU drops to 52.2 points on .335 shooting. Sarah Hamm averages a team-high 13.7 points and Devin Brierly scores 12.9 points in Butler wins. No Bulldog player averages 10 points in the team's losses.
Board Work: Butler's win over LUC was its 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. Jenna Cobb, BU's point guard, led with six offensive boards. BU was +17 on the offensive glass against the Ramblers, also a season best. The Bulldogs' board work resulted in 22 second-chance points.
Offensive Behavior: For a team that has struggled scoring for most of the season, Butler has recently posted four good offensive outings recently. The team's offensive improvement began vs. Milwaukee, when Butler had season highs in points (76), field goal percentage (.510) and field goals made (26) on Jan. 28. They followed that with 68 points on .431 shooting at CSU on Feb. 2 and then made 12 3-pointers and shot 45 percent from the floor at YSU. Last week vs. Loyola, Butler scored 72 points, its second-highest against a D-I opponent this season.
Mandy Makes 3s: Mandy McDivitt, who is second on the team with 39 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 72 career field goals, 64 have been 3-pointers.
Doubling Up: After 19 games, no player on Butler had posted a double-double this year. Over the last seven games, there have been five double-doubles turned in by Butler. Against Milwaukee on Jan. 28, both Sarah Hamm and Becca Bornhorst turned in a double-double. Hamm added another double-double at Cleveland State just five days later and Jenna Cobb had a double-double vs. Loyola. Becca Bornhorst posted another double-digit game vs. UIC.
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.
Calling For Backup: Butler will have a lot of help next season when it adds transfer post players Darress McClung and Liz Stratman. McClung, a 6-0 forward from Indianapolis, has practiced with the team this season and will be eligible next fall. She played two seasons at Cincinnati before coming to Butler. Stratman, a 6-3 freshman from New Palestine, Ind., was a four-year starter for high school girl's powerhouse Heritage Christian, where she won two state championships. Stratman played 12 games at Xavier, averaging 3.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Those two transfers will be added to BU's four-player 2012 recruiting class.
90% At The Free Throw Line: Butler knocked down 19 of its 21 foul shots back on Jan. 28 vs. Milwaukee, good for 90.5 percent. It was BU's best free throw shooting night of the season and the first time Butler has made 90 percent at the foul line in a game since it made 16-for-17 (.941) against Cleveland State in the league tourney semifinal 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.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker and Liz Stratman, who will be sophomores next season, have the pedigree for success at Butler. Raker's 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. Stratman's father played offensive line for Butler football for two seasons.
Up Next: After taking on Green Bay, Butler will return home to play Detroit and Wright State in the final weekend of the regular season.